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The trees have arrived! April 23, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood were hugely excited by the arrival of the latest additions to the home orchard and nuttery here at Hawk’s Haven, our cottage home in the precise middle of nowhere, PA. We received two hardy pecans, dwarf ‘Lapins’ and dwarf ‘CompacStella’ cherries, and a ‘Herbert’ blueberry bush from Miller Nurseries (www.millernurseries.com).

Mind you, we’ve tried to grow both hardy pecans and cherries here before—several times—without success. But we chalk that up to too-small planting holes and erratic watering during a long stretch of drought years. (Shame on us!) So this time, we’re taking no chances. A friend with a post-hole digger came and made us planting holes that go halfway to China. And yes, our friend Ben is dutifully lugging out water jugs every other day and letting them have it whether they need it or not. (We’ll scale back on that once it’s clear that the plants are well established.)

We inherited magnificent shagbark and butternut hickories with our property, along with a number of black walnuts, and we added filbert (hazelnut) bushes early on, so if the hardy pecans take this time our little nuttery will be well on its way.

Our new cherries will be joining three apples (‘Braeburn’, ‘Jonafree’, and ‘Freedom’), a pluot, a ‘Reliance’ peach, two pears (a ‘Seckel’ and a triple-grafted tree with ‘Bartlett’, ‘Buerre Bosc’, and ‘Anjou’), a small grove of ‘Select’ and ‘Wells’ pawpaws, and a ‘Meader’ American persimmon. Now we just need to get some plums and we’re all set! We have our eyes on ‘Green Gage’ and ‘Stanley’.

Moving on to the greenhouse, we also have four container-grown figs, a Persian lime, and a ‘Pink Lemonade’ variegated pink lemon. Not to mention our pride and joy, an ‘Arbequina’ olive, a coffee tree, and a lime leaf.

We have bush fruits, too. Our new ‘Herbert’ blueberry will be joining ‘Blueray’ and ‘Ivanhoe’ in the blueberry bed. We inherited a native elderberry with the property, and have added ‘Adams No. 1’ and ‘Johns’ to join it. We have two large raspberry trellises full of ‘Latham’ and ‘Heritage’ red, ‘Allen’ and ‘Jewel’ black, ‘Purple Royalty’, and ‘Fall Gold’ raspberries. And of course we have strawberries, both an assortment of June-bearers and Alpines and some natives especially adapted as groundcovers under trees.

Oops, almost forgot the grapes! We have ‘Concord’, ‘Himrod Seedless’ (a white), and ‘Leon Millot’ (a wine grape). And if you like to lump rhubarb in with the fruits, we have three, a ‘Valentine’ and two ‘Victoria’. 

With all this fruiting and nutting going on, what else are we lusting after for the home orchard besides those plums? Well, our friend Ben still wants a Key lime, and Silence has her heart set on a blood orange. (We’re actually expecting a few other greenhouse fruits later this week, but we’ll tell you about them when they arrive.)

We’d like to add a nectarine to go with the peach. We’d love to get some “no-bog” cranberries to plant as a groundcover beneath our blueberries. And we want to try again with hardy kiwis. (This time, we don’t have a clue what happened. The vines were huge and thriving, and had flourished for at least four years. Then they abruptly died, almost as though someone had snuck into the yard and hit them with Roundup.)

We’d also like to get one of the crabapples that bears fruit you can eat fresh. We wouldn’t mind a few more wine grapes. And of course we’re tempted by those container apples and cherries. We’d like to get an ‘All in One’ almond to round out our nuts, and a Jostaberry and ‘Pink Champagne’ currant to add more variety to our fruits. And okay, another pluot would be nice.

For right now, though, we’re happy with our new arrivals and are looking forward to a very fruitful year! Tell us more about what fruits and nuts you grow and love, which ones you don’t like, and what you wish you had!



1. Daphne - April 23, 2010

I’m reading that list and goodness you have a lot of fruit and nuts and want even more. Can you eat it all? I’d have trouble with that much. Though I suppose I could always share with the birds then. I’m really hoping for cranberries under my blueberries too. I want homemade cranberry relish grown myself. That would be a nice Thanksgiving treat (and a non-Thanksgiving one too).

Hey Daphne! Yes, we do have a lot, but fortunately there’s always the option of preserves and salsas and butters and sauces and chutneys and, and… And yes, we do share with friends, neighbors, the chickens, and the compost pile. If we had a press we’d probably try our hands at making cider, perry, and the like. We also have some wonderful neighbors who like to come over and harvest our hickory nuts, then bring us homemade hickory-nut cakes and cookies in return!

2. nancybond - April 24, 2010

Your trees should be wonderful! I think it would be wonderful to have nut trees. Apple, peach, cherry, pear trees all do well in our area — I’d be happy to have any of them. 😉

Hi Nancy! Have you considered the “super-dwarf” fruits bred specifically for containers? If your balcony is sturdy, you could grow several kinds of pillar apples as well as a self-fertile peach, nectarine, and cherry. You wouldn’t get tons of fruit, but it would still be a lot of fun! Add some pots of strawberries and a blueberry bush and you’d have your own container orchard! We’ve been tempted to get some for our deck, just for fun. My question is, would you have to store them in an unheated garage or something over winter? I’d think winter lows would be awfully hard on container-bound roots. (But then again, I have an agastache in a container that I leave out on the deck over winter, and it comes back every year, so who knows?)

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