This has been the coldest, wettest, all around worse spring I think we have ever had. So cold that even my asparagus are almost a whole month late! Anyway, today I couldn’t take it any more and went out into my orchard and took a few photos, even though it was misting rain. Here are a couple shots from one part of my little orchard.
Just right of center is a 6 year old Montmorency Cherry (in almost full bloom) On the far left beside that Montmorency is is another Montmorency bought at same place and planted on same day and yet it is just starting to bloom! Directly behind both these cherries are 2 rows of 4-5 year old peach trees of different varieties.
The next photo (below) show (in center) a wild PawPaw Tree that I dug up and moved 5 years ago after I found a patch and this one was a sucker of one I thought it was an exceptionally good tasting. This is only the second year it has bloomed and it didn’t fruit last year. I have another wild transplanted one as well as a Susquehanna and Shenandoah but to my frustration this one blooms before all the others, so until I find a better timed pollinator I may never get fruit from this one with all the blooms (there is a tiny bit of overlap so there is a tiny bit of hope!) In this photo you can also see a 3-year old contender Peach behind and left of my blooming pawpaw. Just to the right behind my wild pawpaw is an unknown 5 year old European pear. It was a mislabled Asian pear and I don’t know what it is, but it produces extremely large pears that are good but nothing extraordinary. Directly behind the pawpaw, barely visable if you look straight through the pawpaw is a 5 year old 20th Century Asian pear. Last year it was same size and fullness of the Euro you can see, but Fireblight absolutely devestated it, killing about 70% of the branches.
This next photo below is just a wider shot of the first photo I posted above. You can better see the 2 Montmorency Cherries that I pointed out earlier are a little unusual in that they were bought and planted same day from same place yet one is almost a week ahead of other on bloom time this year (not always) even though they get same sun, weather, etc. In front of them coming toward the camera is a 3 year old Tulare Sweet Cherry (yes, that little one that looks too small to be 3 years old!)! Then closest to the camera on the left in bloom is a 4 year old North Start Cherry. I know most sour cherries don’t need a pollinator, but I have 3 types right together (Early Richmond is 3rd) with hopes that they will help each other produce more/better fruit. On the far left edge are 2 unknown pears. These weren’t mislabels-they were 2 of the 3 fruit trees on the property when I moved here. The large on is gigantic! It’s 40 foot tall or more. It produces every year, but every other year it has an incredible production you wouldn’t believe. They ripen in late fall but tend to rot if you leave them on the tree until they are soft, but if you pick them hard and green- even if right before the rot- then they will keep forever but dont get very soft. They are just ok. The smaller pear tree between the blooming northstar cherry and the huge pear tree is quite spread out but only about 15 feet tall. It’s pears are better tasting- sweeter. They also are almost round (though I’m sure it isn’t an Asian) They ripen about 2-3 weeks before the big pear tree-in early september.
This last photo (below) shows several trees. The small tree with just a few blooms in the center closest to camera is a Stella Sweet Cherry. I have 7 sweet cherries and they all bloom about the same time EXCEPT Stella. It is much later than all them-in fact it lines up with my sour cherries. Same row, next back is a 4 year old honey Crisp that was also devastated by fire blight last year. Next one behind it in same row is a 4-year old Gala Apple. The big bushy one behind is a 4 year old Bruce Plum. It has always been a picture of health and is my most heavy baring plum by far. Pruning takes forever. Behind is barely visible is a 4 year old Toka Plum. Coming back to the front of the second row on the left, that big nice looking green tree is a 6 year olf Black Tartarian Sweet Cherry. It blooms like a decorative/flowering only cherry tree and has always been a picture of perfect health and growth. One of the best looking, healthiest trees in my orchard (and they say you can’t grow sweet cherries in south! ha). Until last year all my other sweet cherries were too young to bloom, yet somehow this BT still managed to produce a few cherries!!! I am confident there are no other cherry trees in a mile of me, so its been a real mystery. This year I had 2 other sweet cherries bloom but they only had like 5-10 blooms total. So I hope for more set but have doubts.
In the same row as the big sweet cherry going back one is a 5 year old Red Delish. Behind it is a fun project. It was some old, awful tasting, knotty green apple tree that was there when I bought my place. It had a, 8 inch trunk and was 25 feet tall. I cut it off at 4.5 feet, leaving one large limb and stump. I bark grafted 2 varieties to stump and 2 to watersprouts comming off the remaining limb. That was 4 years ago and all 4 are huge now.
At the end of that second row you can see another big Bushy Tree. That is my 5 year old Dragon Tear Pluot you have heard me talk about so much.
Anyway, just wanted to take you on a little tour of this small area of my orchard. Hope you liked it.