Last year, our Nanking Cherry bushes bloomed, but we did not have many cherries to speak of.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, the bee population has declined drastically, so we have lost a lot of our pollinators (and a lot of potential fruit as a result).
We need bees. Yes, there are other pollinators out there still, but we need bees.
Until we get some bees, I have been reading on how to do a little pollination myself. It's pretty labor-intensive, and method varies with each plant.
For the Nanking Cherry, it seems that it's not good enough to pollinate the flowers on the plant from the same plant. I need to cross the pollen with another Nanking Cherry or another plant in the same family (stone fruits, which our other varieties are not blooming *quite* yet).
Time for a little experiment. Outside I go with my wee little paintbrush and a few colored pieces of yarn to mark my progress.
The method is easy: "paint" the center of each flower.
There's more than one way to paint a Cherry Blossom!Method 1: Before researching a bit more after having time to think as I "painted", was to start with one branch and paint all(most) of the flowers on that one branch. I marked this branch with pink yarn and went inside to read some more.....
Method 2: Pick a branch on each bush and go back and forth between the bushes, painting flowers on a branch of each bush. I marked these branches with cream colored yarn.
Method 3: (because I was getting a little bit tired of painting blossoms by this time) was to use my hands and lightly brush up and down the branches of blossoms on each of the three bushes. I marked these with black yarn.
Any way I did it, some of the blossoms fell off. My bushes are no longer the striking beauties they once were. But at least I might have some cherries in a few months!
I did see about 3 bees when I was out just now (yeah!).
Now to wait a few months to see if there are any noticeable results. :)