Orchard tour

Thinking of having a neighborhood orchard tour in the next month or so. One day, maybe four hours. I get a lot of questions from my neighbors, and work hard at having a place I would like to share. I think grafting demos are possible, but not any grafting by other folks.

We talked about this briefly before, but more in relation to teaching grafting. I have labeled trees with their variety, and labeling grafts is an ongoing process. I have lots of notebooks and notes and just general knowledge I could share.

Any thoughts or experience with this sort of thing? Concerns? Lessons learned?

I would guess 20 people, more or less. Maybe more. We have a monthly newsletter that goes out to my immediate neighbors as well as supporters of our little village. This would be the best forum as they announce things like this all the time.

Am I thinking right that I do have something folks would be interested in?


I wish I lived there. I would be very interested


I just posted a video of a guy who is probably one of the best grafters in the US on the biggest platform in the US (youtube) and less than 200 folks even watched it.

I watch all of Stephans videos and i think he is a fantastic teacher… but he rarely gets more than a few thousand hits… and he gets massive criticism. He is a little harsh and comes off as a know it all… i get it.

David the Good is probably one of my favorites… he has the right attitude and makes it kinda fun while learning…makes u want to grow things better. Thats probably why he has more than 250K subscribers.

So if it were me i would probably do a tour kind of like a museum and not get too educational or scholarly… most folks really dont care i dont think…but i think they would love to have the fruit.

Likely there will be one or two maybe three that really want to pay it forward and those are the folks u should teach and share your knowledge to…

Personally i wouldnt teach grafting or even talk about it to common folk…one guy in here asked as many questions as possible on every aspect of grafting in this forum and all over social media and his mom nearly cut her fingers off.

If i had an itch to teach it would be about disease resistant cultivars for your area… and why that is important etc. Also branch spreading and pruning times and why those things are important… Almost every question i see on the social medias is because someone bought a tree that wasnt disease resistant, and also asking why no fruit when their trees look like oaks instead of fruit trees… or why fruit so small when they havent thinned. Or broken branches due to same reason… Or maybe they bought a tree that needed a pollinator… or a tree not for their climate.

Grafting is cool but actually having a healthy tree that produces fruit in your back or front yard is probably worth teaching.

Hopefully you have a nice community and it all goes well for you…


Such wonderful ideas! Thank you so much.

I wanted to share grafting to explain that although I don’t have a big orchard, I can still have a lot of variety. I guess I also wanted them to know about Southern varieties with cool names like hollow log, cathead, caney fork LT, horse, and so on. There are some fairly big orchards near me, bit their varieties are limited.

I do want to mention pests and organic alternatives like kaolin. Also rootstocks and pruning, open vase vs Central leader etc. I am always dragging my family around sharing this information. They are good sports, but not really interested.

There are also tons of lessons learned. Things I wished I had done different. Things that have worked well. Not to mention my approach to all of this like it was a science project. Documentation, drawing, labeling, comparison, research. It borders on being fanatic.

I have a few reasons to do this other that education worth mentioning. My community just had a garden tour with $30 entrance fee (ouch). They asked me to be in it but although my orchard is nice, the rest of my yard and house is pretty rough. I said no The same houses that look like museums were on the tour that I’ve seen multiple times before, but also very simple places. It got me thinking that there might be value in what I have after all.

I would also like to sell apples one day. I’m interested in putting together 1/2 Peck bags with different varieties. Small amounts but fun comparisons. Contrasting colors and flavors. Cool apple names that are obscure and unknown to most. My community has been polarized by folks who want to turn their houses into air b and b etc. Some dead against, others welcome it. It has been said that if there was just better communication the community would be more united. I thought that sharing my work and my place might help others see what I have been doing for the past 10 years. My orchard is briefly visible from the road, perhaps adding to the reason I get so many questions.

I am so totally into growing that I spend most of my time out there. As we all know, there is something very special about walking through and seeing the “fruits” of your labor. It is an inspiring place, a calming force. I don’t know how many people feel that way but I would like to share what I have.

Another one of my diatribes. Sorry to go on about it, but I thought it was worthy of an explanation more than what I shared initially.


You just maybe answered your own question… i do that alot too.

Make it a gazing area… instead of a teaching lab. I know that when i go on tours of scenic places that i do not listen to a word that the mouth up there is saying… its my experience… my view…

I know that when i do my editorials on here that they are too wordy…too nerdy…often too much… i am a teacher at heart…i think u are too…

However some folks seem to just like the pictures…and maybe see a possiblity in doing that themselves… on their terms and their own hand. Instead of ‘learning about it’.

So my vote would be to give a tour…and open yourself to questions…instead of trying to teach things to folks that dont want to learn. Maybe grafting will come up as a question… maybe u can teach that person at a later time?

You cant please all the people all the time…but u can always let them walk in your forest. I think u will get more people inspired by their own curiousity rather than being a Park Ranger… perhaps im wrong and perhaps that is my unique way of thought…


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You are right. I would rather wander than listen to a lecture. I would like to see it for myself. I would look at tags and fruit and shapes and pruning and take it all in. After all, not all who wander are lost😁

I am a teacher at heart. I am a wannabe teacher, hoping to have something that others might be interested in. We sound like kindred spirits. I will take what you have said to heart.

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I get that way too sharing my weird cultivars… the thing is that people like what they know. Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples are the best apples that exist… right? Belle of Georgia has to be the best peach…it has Georgia in its name…and Georgia peaches are the BEST right?

Anyways here are some more thoughts to ponder-

Back To Eden Gardening- (Film/documentary) This guy Paul Gautschi… he did things differently… he grew things in woodchips… He is an arborist and he does amazing espaliers that are mind blowing… anyways he started gaining traction… newspapers, videos, then he did tours and people came from all over…then took his practices home and folks were doing Permaculture and all kinds of stuff… it was exciting and different and new… Of course the rift happened… many folks went on missions to prove him wrong… then they proved the nitrogen thing and then the growing in straw or leaves…or hay… anything to prove him wrong and prove themselves right. All that the guy wanted to do was to show that there was a different way… maybe a better way… which is how society works. No matter what you do… there is going to be some folks that enjoy it…and folks that spend enormous amounts of time and energy to take that away and bring light on themselves… but isnt that how trees work? Isnt that how nature works?

Stephan- hes got a small following… im sure by now he is about to give up teaching. I know he wants folks to take his pruning and permaculture classes but i think he figured out that the haters have much more energy and passion than himself.

Plant Abundance- this guy has half a million followers… just by growing things in his backyard. Personally he is too pedantic for me… but i think its fantastic that folks grow stuff and get ideas from him… Without a doubt he is needed to share knowledge.

Final thought- Lets say that you drove to an orchard with 10,000 trees and it had lakes and ponds and every shrub and fruiting vine and bramble and birds and bees and bugs and all that… when you pull up to the office they say-
1)We are offering a guided tour in 15 minutes… you will be with a party of 20 others and the tour will take 2.5 hrs. There will be workshops and teaching along the way.

2)You are free to take your own tour…take as long or little as you like. There will be someone here to answer questions if you have any.

Which do you choose? Thats your answer on how you give your own tour I think.

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I attended several grafting/apple growing/and apple tasting demonstrations in your part of the country several years ago… All conducted by the late Tom Burford in North Garden, VA. . All the seminars were packed…

We did a free Elderberry Seminar here this spring with the help of the county extension agent who had a pretty big mailing list. Had about 40 folks attend on a rainy day. I sold plants and cuttings at the end of the seminar. Might do it again next year.


Good advice.


I suspect that may be something Regina can relate to…selling a few grafts at the end of the
‘tour’. And taking names if there might be an interest in a future class that there could be a charge for.

To help form a ‘mailing list’/email list…giving something away (a tree? pruning shears? something of interest to a broad audience) … and using the “ENTRY FORMS” to obtain a MAILING LIST for the future.

Beware of unruly kids, thieves, and possible injuries to guests.


Wish I could have gotten in on those!

I’d consider an inquire with your home owners insurance about coverage if any of the guests becoming hurt / injured during the tour. Sadly we live in a sue happy world and people get taken advantage of all of the time.

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Wow, trying to throw a party centered around grafting, a neighborhood party no less. That seems incredible to me. I throw parties for my customers every other year, but the theme is harvest and I have bowls of fruit and the party is scheduled when my trees are full of peaches, plums and nectarines. They can also pick some fruit if they want, but they all have their own orchards and most are in production… so no big deal even though I have more varieties than any of them. This year I think I will also do a fall one for apples, but my customers are most excited by the stone fruit.

My customers and a few neighbors love my parties, but we also serve them lunch… my wife is an outstanding cook.

If your neighbors come to a party with grafting as the theme you must be a very likeable person. Many people find the idea of grafting interesting and a couple of my customers have gotten into doing it themselves, but first you fall in love with your orchard. If you don’t already have fruit trees or some interest in selected varieties of other landscape plants- and I mean a deep interest, why would you be interested in specific grafting techniques. Hell, I do hundreds of grafts every year and I’m not interested- all I use is a splice graft and a person can learn to do that in 5 minutes, which is the point.


@alan , I’m thinking much more informal than yours, and mostly to folks that have little experience with fruit trees. Yours sounds absolutely awesome.

I might have bottled water but that’s the extent of it. It’s not about grafting but I’m so fascinated with it that I have to discuss it. It would be fun to make it an annual event! The idea floated of offering a grafted tree is a fun one. For safety reasons and such, I’ve decided against having neighbors graft. We could do that one on one at another time.

My next door neighbor has a low country shrimp boil every year. Something akin to yours. Folks bring wine and craft beers and just hang out. Several of my neighbors have glamorous yards. The boil lady has three gardeners. Me, I’m just the sweaty hunched over chick with the shovel in one hand and diet Dr pepper in the other.


I love your idea. I wish I lived near you and would happily attend.

Since this is your first year, you may want to keep it simple. You have a gorgeous orchard with trees that are neatly labeled.

Show your neighbors and friends around, then, let them roam and ask questions.

From their questions, you would know what people’s interests lie. You could tailor your next year’s tour to meet those interests.


I misunderstood the meaning of all the discussion about grafting on the thread- I thought it was to be the theme of your party. Yes, I’m sure whatever you do will be deeply enjoyed by your neighbors. Your graciousness oozes out of your words here and I know your guests will feel the warm embrace of your good nature.

I’m lucky enough to be married to a woman of similar virtue. Balances things a bit.


This is an awesome idea! If I lived in your neighborhood, I’d attend. I hope you have a great time!


Thanks a bunch. I told a couple of people I was doing it today so now I have to follow through. :slightly_smiling_face:. One is the postmaster and that’s where we go to get all the scoop.

This is the front of our post office. Not the usual kind of place.

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement. It means a lot!


I took the leap and had a neighborhood tour! I’m guessing about 15 or so attended. Any more and I would have had a hard time walking through with everyone.

I think it went really well. I had a table with grafting supplies, a Bud9 rootstock, my journals, a list of current varieties, some favorite books, and a little “test your knowledge quiz.”

It was a little overcast but really humid. I had a tub of cold water bottles and I’m thankful for that. We set up several chairs in the shade so folks could have a seat and stay longer. My three sons and my boyfriend helped out.

Most were really surprised at the number of grafts and their amusing southern names. They had no idea how many trees I had since my backyard is fairly hidden from view. Some saw varieties that they were growing themselves. Quite a few laughed at my over the top documentation. All seemed really interested and several left their contact information.

I thought it was a great day but I was exhausted by the end.




Looks like a lot of fun. Glad you had some apples to show them.
Had any of them tried grafting before?