I'm back but I'm not sure

After a year with back injury and never once stepping foot in my orchard I swallowed my angst and ventured out today. I already knew that my boys had pulled out most of my grapes and my beautiful new red asparagus plants thinking they were weeds. I already knew that all my hybrid plums and sweet cherries and the the baby trees and I planted in 2014 died because of a 70 degree drop on November 12th after not having frosted yet that year. And what do I find? almost all of the rest of my trees have been girdled by voles.

I know it’s not too late to go out and get as much scion from the trees as possible with the hope of grafting to shoots the trees put out, but I just don’t have it in me to even hope any more. As much as I have practiced with grafting I have really not had much success. Most of this probably has to do with grafting to “liners” so maybe grafting to shoots from more mature trees will be more successful.

The one plus? I had surrounded the trunks of my peaches with moth balls and had not been able to remove them before my back injury. I’m not sure how they survived yet in regard to borers or canker, but at least the voles passes on them.

I set out 9 years ago to fulfill a life-long dream of having a back yard orchard and what I have learned is that nature is cruel and even the “sweat of thy brow” is not enough to conquer it. I have harvested a hand-full of sour cherries, a few berries, and a few peaches and that’s about it. What grows in Colorado? Sour cherries and rhubarb, and not much else! How many thousands I have spent I probably couldn’t even calculate. I’m glad the Canadians still make whiskey cause I think I will imbibe. (and yes, it is only 2:00 here)


Milehighgirl! I am sorry to hear it has been such a trial and I wish you had been spared. But I am not sorry that you’ve found your way “home”. Please stick around.

I don’t have much to offer by way of encouragement. You’ve worked way, way too hard to have this happen to you. Maybe you won’t try again, maybe you will, but either way don’t be a stranger here!

Best to you,


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Welcome back with sympathy…
And let me know if there are any scions you are looking for, if I can’t help you I’m sure someone else can. I have salvaged girdled trees by stumping them below the damage and then Cleft grafting scions. I did a bridge graft last year that was successful, thats another option worth considering.

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You probably don’t remember me from GW because I was just getting started about the time we all moved over here and you disappeared! But you were really helpful to me over there, and I’ve appreciated it ever since. I knew you made it over here but I haven’t seen you around much. I’ve come a long way since I started and you were kind enough to help me with a lot of really dumb questions, but I’m still very much a novice and am glad to have one more friendly user to ask my newest (still dumb in many cases!) questions. So its nice to see you back. Sorry to hear you’ve had some health problems. Also sorry to hear you have had some bad luck with your trees. I can relate- last spring my neighbor absolutely covered my orchard with 2, 4-D herbicide and I lost every single fruit and bloom for the whole year, about 16 trees were killed dead and about 12 more were so severely affected that the new growth they did put on was twisted and deformed-probably affecting them forever. So I feel your pain. But you are a very knowledgeable grower and if you helped me I’m sure you can find a way to grow some things if you feel like trying-and I hope you do! I Look forward to having you around more.

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I remember you from GW! Welcome back!

Sorry to hear about your health problems, hope you feel better and you can still fulfill your backyard orchard dream!

Rhonda, welcome home, even if “home” has moved. I’m glad you’ve found your way. Many people have missed you in your absence. Others don’t know what they’ve missed.

I’m sorry, but I laughed when I read the part about your boys weeding out your plants. Over eager helpers have repeatedly done the same thing to me.

It took me much longer than 9 years to learn that nature is too capricious to be assumed even a benign friend. It’s good to hear that you are able to get around at least a bit now. Sounds like you still have at least a few viable trees, and you’re around people who will support your efforts to regain footholds toward reawakening and rebuilding your dream. I hope you decide to stick around.

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Maybe some of the rootstocks will sucker and give you an opportunity to graft next season. Sorry for your unfortunate circumstance, I hate to see something I have worked hard to do be destroyed.


I think your right about harvesting scion wood. Rootstocks are inexpensive and you could get some and graft to those. If you cut the trees off the shoots will be up and ready to graft in no time. Sorry about the voles they destroyed a bunch of a friends trees last year. Welcome back!


Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh finally!!! Please come back!!! Can you tell we’re excited you are back! I am so sorry about your back problems, that part is horrible! Just take it all slowly. I wish Bamboo Rabbit would come back too! So thrilled to see you’re at up and walking through your gardens and trees. I remember that I started a year ahead of you and you helped me a great deal. A lot has changed in the time you have been away. Many new people that you will like! Many will make you laugh out loud. I remember you having so much trouble with temperature and freezing of flower buds, that is the worst. I thought you just might give up on your orchard all together. I am so glad you did not. Oh MileHigh, what a treat you have made my day! PS. I now have 40 trees and more on the way. I wish I could share my zone with you! Take is slowly and come back all the way! xxoo Mrs. G :heart_eyes:

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OMG! Milehigh, so many people have missed you. Mrs. G said everything I wanted to say to you!

I too am so sorry to hear you’ve had such issues w/ your back. It’s good that you can get out some now. From my own experience, trying to grow a few things can be medicinal, as long as one isn’t bending over too much to strain.

I remember the issues you had with the cold winters freezing out your peach trees, or fruit buds, but I’m sure you can grow apples and pears too. I remember the pear tree we talked about for a long time on the other fruit forum. I think you started over there in 2007?

Take it slow and easy, and stay with us here. Such a pleasure to see your presence here!


Welcome Back Milehighgirl!
I read quite a few of your articles and comments on GW when I first began to read it 5 short years ago. I wish you the very best and a well-deserved recovery. I have adopted everybody as my garden family and it brings happy tears to my eyes when a member returns after such a challenge. I know you are a trooper and I pray that you recover fully enough to get back out there in your orchard and play in the dirt to your hearts content. And have those boys get out there with you and plant, weed & harvest even if they can’t do as good a job as you! Sincerely, welcome back!



Welcome back! We missed you! I was heartbroken to hear of your challenges.

Some sours for a cherry pie is not bad. Maybe crank up the production on the winners? You could do more cherry tarts, cherry jam, cherry juice, cherry booze, etc etc.

So glad to hear from you. Very best regards.

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Very nice to see you’re back MHG!!!

I’ve thought of the extreme amount of work you did in planting your Aunts fruit trees, and often wondered how things turned out there.

Well it sure sounds like you’re due for some good fortune, so maybe 2016 will be your year!!

I agree with Olpea, I think there can be a kind of therapeutic thing with nursing plantings, etc., and I wish you the very best of luck with your recovery, and with your plantings.

Welcome back!!!

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Good you are back! You need any plants, I know you mostly need trees, well scion, at least! All you need plus some more is here. Any other plants to help you out let us know, we’ll all start cloning ours.



Welcome, Welcome … An old friend has found her way home and there are smiles in every window and on every face.

Sorry to hear about you back injury but am glad to see that you were able to overcome enough to venture back into the orchard again. Don’t let the disappointment due to the carnage keep you from doing the most you can in the orchard.

Heartbreak comes in so many flavors and I remember one of your last posts when you announced on GW that you were thinking of throwing in the towel. That made me sad.

But I was hoping that you would persevere. After all Konrad in the far north of us and that other Canuck were able to grow some beautiful fruit up there in Canada.

Please don’t give up.



Welcome back. glad to hear you are up and around again…

I suspect I will have quite a bit of scion wood left over once I finish my grafting (almost done, just waiting on one source of scion to ship). As well as my prunings (which I am still procrastinating on). Mostly apples and a few pears.

And from your pen name here, we are likely close enough to meet or for a very short mail trip to get them to you. Let me know if I can help.


Welcome back MG, I am a little late to Welcome you back due to busy work schedule yesterday. Sorry to have about your back. Hang in there. Well lets start growing again shall We. Don’t be a stranger, if you need any scions please let Us know. Is the potted Che from J&E still alive? If flowers for you at one point.


Milehigh, I was thinking you could try to save the girdled trees with bridge grafts. Or even cut out the girdled part and regraft the tree, or even a small scion unto the rootstock. I guess it depends how low the girdling is?

Hello milehighgirl,
I hope things get better,from here on out. Brady

I am glad you have posted and to hear from you again. You have been missed.

Hope you will post again soon.