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The broom

The broom


General information

The broom is a plant belonging to the papillon family. The broom is native to Western Asia, Northern Africa and Europe.

The broom includes seventy-five suffruttic and shrub plants which have the common characteristic of being very simple to grow. A common feature in many gorse is the almost total absence of leaves. When they were to be present, it is quite rare, they do not have a continuity coming to be alternate. Furthermore, the branches that host the leaves are often thorny. However, they tend to fall completely once the first flowers begin to appear. The broom has a roundish erect posture with a very branched crown. It can reach between two and three meters in height. The stems are thin and woody and can take on a dark green or brown color. The fruit of the gorse is a pod that contains ten to fifteen flattened seeds. Gorse are very important and have various fields of use. They can be used, in fact, or as an ornamental garden plant, particularly suitable for rock gardens but also for the reforestation of degraded areas and for the consolidation of clods, especially in the slopes, having a very dense and complex root structure.


The species: Genista lydia

Genista lydia: it is a species native to southeastern Europe and Syria, the main feature of this species is that it is dwarf so it lends itself very well to growing in pots. Due to its very small size, it grows up to a maximum of eighty centimeters in height, and its just drooping posture with numerous thorny branches, which take on the gray-green color, have small leaves, linear with the same color of the plant. flowers of this particular species are the typical bright yellow ones and gathered in racemes that can reach considerable heights, up to eight centimeters, bloom during the period from May to June, this may depend on the climate in which they live.


Cytisus Albus

Cytisus Albus: Cytisus Albus is known to the great public with the name of Cytisus multifloris grows spontaneously in the Iberian peninsula, then Spain and Portugal, and in northwestern Africa. As for all brooms, Cytisus is also a bushy species with a diameter and height approximately equal to about two and a half meters. This species of broom differs from the others mainly by the color of the flowers, in fact they take on the white color, with a length of about two centimeters. The leaves, on the other hand, are gray tending to green while the leaves are small on the top of the plant and those present in the lower part are decidedly larger and trifoliate. The flowering period is from April to May.


Other species

Ulex europaeus: This species differs enough for its bearing from other species. This type of shrubs are characterized by a very short main stem. A large number of branches arise from this stem which can be either erect or ascending. These branches are often very stiff. Another important feature of the Ulex is the fact of having leaves that are characterized in often extremely sharp thorny phyllodes. As regards, however, the flower of this species aligns very well with those typical of brooms. Their color is yellow and they can be quite tall. Alternatively they are axillary to the phyllodes. From the flowers comes a leguminous fruit.

Spartium junceum is also known as the fragrant broom it is a plant that lives very well in the Mediterranean scrub. It belongs to the Fabaceae family and is also called Spanish broom. Spartium junceum is the only species belonging to the genus Spartium. The flowers are of the typical color of the broom therefore an intense yellow.


Exposure and climate

The broom is basically a Mediterranean plant so the warm and sunny climate is very important for its growth even if it is very flexible, adapting even in places where the lighting is quite poor. As mentioned before, the broom prefers hot climates with a lot of sun but can tolerate even more rigid climates not above -15 degrees.


The terrain

The typical habitat of a broom is almost unthinkable for almost all the other floral species.

The broom is a beautiful plant that gives beauty and many useful applications and asks for almost nothing in return. The ideal soil of the broom is an alkaline substrate but it manages without worries to adapt to any environment that is proposed to it. In fact, it does not matter if the soil is rich in stones, clay, sand or even arid, what is very important is the presence of well-drained and not very fertile soil. Therefore it is not particularly important to create a well-kept ground.


Planting and repotting

One thing that is essential is the care of the roots. If you decide to plant brooms in your garden, you will need to pay particular attention to the appearance of the planting. In fact, the broom is extremely important in that operation not to damage them as this can kill the plant itself. Therefore, if you want to plant a broom, it is highly advisable to opt for potted plants so that it is possible to do this operation in such a way that the roots remain unaltered. Once planted, the plant no longer needs further handling. The planting operation is preferable to do it either in October or throughout the spring. The same problem offers repotting. In fact, if you opt for the pot instead of the soil, the repotting must be done every two years always bearing in mind that the root structure must absolutely not have any type of trauma. So be very careful when removing the plant from the pot.


The watering

The broom is a plant that normally lives in very arid territories. It often manages to overcome even medium-term droughts unscathed. The broom does not have a great need for water so if the plant has been planted in a ground it is possible to water it sporadically. If, on the other hand, the broom has been planted in a pot, it is better to water it more regularly, always bearing in mind never to let the earth dry out completely.


The multiplication

Multiplication can occur in various ways.

The first and certainly the most effective is that which is carried out by cutting.

The best time to carry out the multiplication operation is certainly June.

In June it will be necessary to put the cutting in a mixture of peat and sand that will help it to root properly. The cutting must be buried for no more than five or ten centimeters, however, leaving the bearing branch in the sunlight.


Pruning

Speaking of pruning, we must keep in mind that a broom in a pot has certain needs that must be respected in order to have a plant and a flowering always at their best.

Pruning must be done at certain times of the year. In fact, pruning must be done absolutely once a year and specifically after flowering. All this is necessary as the stem of this plant over time could take on not only a woody appearance and lacking a logical order but also tend to bloom in a decreasing way over time.

An optimal pruning is obtained only with a drastic caesura of all branches. It is necessary to reach up to a quarter of the natural length. In this way it will be possible to stimulate the gorse to create new shoots and certainly the following year the flowering will be nothing short of magnificent.


Fertilization

The fertilization of the broom is an operation to be done only in certain moments of his life. Fertilization during the flowering period is very important to strengthen the plant. No special fertilizer is needed but generic flower fertilizer will suffice. Another important period for the plant in which it is highly recommended for fertilization is the end of winter.

During this time it should be reinforced with organic fertilizer.


Flowering

The flowers of the broom are absolutely hermaphrodite. They are usually bright yellow in color.

The corolla is papillon and can be found both in clusters and single.

The flowering period is extremely long. It coincides with the advent of the warm seasons. In fact it is that period of time that goes from May until August.

From the flowers a leguminous fruit is born which tends to take on a brown red color once it reaches maturity.


Diseases and parasites

During the spring period the broom can be subject to infestations by aphids or fungi. Fungi, in fact, love a humid climate, must be fought with a systemic fungicide. As far as aphids are concerned, the only way to eradicate them is the use of insecticides.


Compatibility

The broom is the typical plant that needs little to survive from which it follows that it has no compatibility problems with other plants. Being a typical plant of the Mediterranean scrub, myrtle shrubs often coexist with the broom.


The broom: Meaning

The broom is a flower that brings joy, liveliness, thanks to the bright color of its yellow flowers. Like all flowers and plants, also the broom in the language of flowers has a particular symbolism and carries within it a precise meaning. The main one is humility, common to all civilizations. According to the country in which it is located, the broom is accompanied by different meanings according to the different populations that live there. In Italy, in the region of Sicily for example, the broom is considered a negative, unwelcome flower. This meaning comes from an ancient belief with a religious background according to which Jesus took up this plant while he was in the garden of Gethsemane to pray because of the noise it made. For the well-known Roman author Pliny, the broom had an opposite connotation: he thought that the ashes of the broom contained gold because of the intense color of its resplendent flowers.



Ginestra (Genista)

Broom is a beautiful rustic plant that produces simple but very tenacious flowers, with stems that look delicate and static but are actually flexible and sturdy. The strength of this plant is expressed with its great adaptability, with its resistance to even the worst weather. The broom roots even in the most inhospitable, calcareous and stony soils. It is capable of colonizing cliffs and slopes, coloring them with its warm and bright shades.


The broom, a shrub that is easy to grow in rock gardens

Scientific name: genista. These are easy shrubs to grow outdoors, in the rock garden as ground cover or for the consolidation of steep soils. They are planted between October and March, in autumn in the cold climate areas and in spring in the others. They adapt to all soils, preferably loose and well drained, even poor and dry, alkaline or acidic. No pruning is usually required. If you want to have bushy plants or a second flowering in autumn, shorten the branches after they have bloomed. Exposed in full sun, it is resistant to drought.

Genista sylvestris (or Dalmatian broom): it is a dwarf species, compact, with yellow flowers, which bloom in June / July. It is used for the rock garden and for the consolidation of steep terrain.

genista sylvestris / dalmatic broom

Spathulata broom: it is always a dwarf species, with numerous arched or pendulous (thorny) branches, which bloom in May / June, always on steep terrain. Diseases: and parasites: aphids, which fight with ferric chlorosis aficidi, which is remedied with treatments based on iron chelates.

broom spathulata

Charcoal broom (cystus scoparius): they are shrubs grown outdoors, in the garden or for the consolidation of steep terrain. The spartium junceum is particularly suitable for maritime environments. The spartium adapts well to sandy soils. They are shrubs that prefer full sun exposure. They are resistant to high and low temperatures. Watering practically never necessary thanks to the excellent resistance to drought. Instead, plants grown in pots should be watered regularly. Aphids can infest plants: they fight with aficidae. Iron chlorosis can cause the leaves to turn yellow: it is prevented with the right PH (acidity) of the soil or loam and is treated with adequate iron chelate treatments.

broom of the charcoal burners

Starry broom: small in size, suitable for rock gardens, it is a show in yellow every spring. It is a low maintenance plant, suitable for arid and calcareous soils, ideal for forming borders or colored spots. It does not exceed 60 centimeters, and occurs in dense or more or less dense bushes depending on the exposure and water supply. It is deciduous, the foliage is dull green, the flowers have a straw yellow corolla. Its flowering is very suggestive. Suitable for sunny flower beds, in rock gardens and low maintenance. Flowering occurs in late spring, as the plant must be well mature, but when it does it is just a show. It is very long-lived, and has no specific parasites.

How to plant it, cares for vigorous growth: this plant should be planted in a sandy and porous substratum. In hilly areas and where there is a danger of severe drops in temperature, the soil portion of the collar must be covered with mulching material.
From the end of the cold season until late flowering, the plants must be fertilized with liquid fertilizer for flowering plants every 30 days. If the shrubs are grown in groups, they must be fertilized every 4 months with slow release fertilizers.
Cultivation in pots: the containers must be at least 45 / 50cm in diameter. In this case it must be watered every 2/3 weeks, with about 2 liters of water at a time.
After flowering, one must be done every year maintenance pruning to maintain a neat appearance and promote flowering. To do this: cut all the branches up to 1/4 of their length, in order to stimulate the plants to produce new shoots.


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Multiplication of the broom

The broom propagates by seed in late winter and by cutting in August. To obtain plants with the same characteristics as the mother plant, it is preferred to propagate it by cutting.

In the month of August, 10-12 cm long twigs are taken with sharp shears and rooted in porous soil.

Plant of the Broom

The broom is planted in autumn or early spring in holes that are twice as deep and twice as wide as the earthen bread that surrounds its roots.

Pruning of the broom

Pruning should be done once a year only on adult plants to contain their development, to encourage the emission of new shoots and a more abundant flowering. On young plants, on the other hand, a light topping is carried out immediately after flowering.

Plant of the Broom

The broom is planted in autumn or early spring in holes that are twice as deep and twice as wide as the earthen bread that surrounds its roots.

Repotting of the Broom

The specimens of gorse grown in pots should be transferred to larger containers every two years or when the roots come out of the drainage holes of the sewage. For the cultivation in pots it is advisable to place the plants in vases or planters very capacious.


the broom (genista) is a plant that prefers well-drained soils, not too rich in organic substances, and very sunny. So I suggest you place it in the garden or on a balcony, in a sunny area, wetting it once every three to four days depending on the season and the temperature, avoiding stagnant water.

It is a plant that does not fear the cold, so it can certainly be kept outside even during the winter period. This is some general information. If you are interested in more detailed information, do not hesitate to contact us (do not forget, however, to tell us which species your broom belongs to, if you know it).


The processing of broom in the Arbëreshë communities

It is very interesting to understand how the broom was worked in the Arbëreshë community. The operations began in March, with the pruning of the plant aimed at obtaining new tender shoots. This was the only phase of the work entrusted to men.

Harvesting, boiling and fraying

The actual harvest was carried out in August, with the use of the scythe.
The bundles of broom were transported to the village on the back or on the back of a donkey, where, collected in bunches, they were put to boil in a special pot, called kusia.
The bundles had to be turned over several times, as prolonged boiling caused many problems.
After boiling (aunts sparten), were left to cool, before starting to fray them.
The frayed broom was collected in further bunches (strumbilje) which, in number of 5, were strung into twigs of the same plant and transferred to streams. Here they were immersed for eight to ten days.
The immersion allowed to complete the maturation process.
Afterwards, the bunches were exposed to the sun. This, in addition to allowing the whitening of the fibers, created a raw lint, which was beaten with a special wooden stick (kupani).

Combing and spinning

The beating gave the fiber a softer appearance and texture and prepared it for combing (krekurit). This was done with rudimentary combs and was used to clean the fiber of any wood residues, making it ready for spinning.
The latter operation was performed by placing a certain amount of fiber on a cone,
from which a head was spun with the right hand and with the left hand extended.

The thread and the fiber

The elongated and thinned wire was fixed to the spindle. It was pricked with the right hand, while the left continued to provide the necessary fiber for the operation. The yarn thus obtained was collected in skeins, bleached in water and ash and, in some cases, dyed.
The natural color one was intended for the weaving of sheets, towels, tablecloths and undergarments.
The fiber thus obtained was used to make clothes, blankets and saddlebags. It could be colored with vegetable substances, having different methods of extraction and therefore of application. The same broom flowers were used to dye yellow. For the brown color, however, the decoction with walnut husk was used. Finally, the red was extracted from the roots of the madder.
The processing of the broom, therefore, represented a real sector of textile craftsmanship. Fortunately, in some places these ancient traditions are still maintained.

If you are interested in having the broom in the garden or at home, you can seeds or seedlings find them here.


Video: YELLOW ON THE BROOM