Visit with Zendog!


#1

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Today I visited @zendog (Walter) in Arlington, Virginia.

I had visited Walter two years prior. I was happy to discover that, since then, his plants have tripled in size.

As he has posted elsewhere, Walter was anxious to offload some of his duplicate plants to make more room for other additions, and to afford the remaining plants more space to grow.

Neverthless, I came away feeling like I had perpetrated highway robbery-- taking so many nice things from Walter.

I came bearing gifts, as I had anticipated Walter would want to spoil me rotten. I brought along some freshly-cut scionwood of the Loring peach (best-flavored peach I’ve yet tasted) for Walter to bud-graft. I also brought a flat of fresh fruit collected from several Frederick County (Md) orchards for Walter and his family to sample, including Hedelfingen cherries; Arctic Glo nectarines; Glenglo, GaLa, and Snow Prince peaches; and the best batch of Shiro plums I’ve ever tried.

Walter let me sample his home-grown Centennial apples. The sun and humidity was pushing the heat index to 106 degrees, so it was refreshing to taste a juicy apple.

Walter dug up some extra strawberry runners for me to take. I came prepared. I brought some pots pre-filled with soil. We immediately potted up the transplants and watered them in. Walter gave me two of the cultivars widely acclaimed as among the best strawberries for the Eastern U.S… Earliglo and Mara de Bois.

We also “traded” some figs. By “traded,” I mean: I gave Walter a modest-sized newly-rooted cutting of Hardy Chicago, and he generously showered me with larger-sized trees of Celeste, Black Bethlehem, Briguglio, and a local strain of Brown Turkey. I sheepishly offered to send Walter some cuttings of Battaglia Green next winter, and promised to invite him to visit my property someday soon.

Walter gifted me some robust pomegranate trees, including the resilient Salavatski, the soft-seeded Vkusnyi, and the dwarf variety Hydranar Goulosha.

Walter let me snap a pic of the two of us in order to gratify my vanity. Here we are in front of his in-ground Salavatski (survivor of two bad winters and frosty springs). Notice the clean fruit dangling like an ornament in between us:

Thanks, Walter! I really appreciate your generosity and hospitality.


#2

106!! Man that would kill me, it was 81 here, and I had to remove as many clothes as allowed by the law! Yeah it’s great when we can get together as we all have that fruit bug. My wife sometimes is ready to kill me, as all I talk about is the garden. So having somebody to trade experiences with first hand is a lot of fun.


#3

Thanks for stopping by and relieving me of the responsibility for those trees. In this heat, watering all the container stuff is a daily duty and I’ve just had too many to keep up with. Now I can sleep well at night knowing you’ll give them a good home and hopefully the few figs on them already will survive so you can get a taste.

And don’t undervalue that flat of fruit you brought! I think I got the best part of the deal with that carefully curated selection of really delicious treats. They are so much better than what I get from the farmers market. The Hedelfingen cherries were particularly interesting, having a really rich cherry flavor and great sugar. Bings might taste sweeter, but for pure dark cherry flavor these are great. I just did a tasting of all the peaches with my daughter this morning and we both liked GaLa the best, even edging out Gleglo. Snow Prince was a great white as well, but I loved the acidity in the GaLa. I’m surprised not to see much mention of it by other growers. Oh no, another variety I need to find a space for!

Thanks again for making the trip and good luck with the plants.


#4

My wife and I were also surprised at how good the GaLa taste. The ones we kept are kinda messy with a fibrous and collapsing sort of texture… but the flavor is really really good. Something special about it I can’t quite describe.

For many years, peach growers had no varieties to fill what they called the Pre-Redhaven Hole. The early peaches would come… then there would be a week’s delay with no peaches… then Redhaven and the rest of the season would kick off.

Now there are varieties more readily available to fill this gap in the season. GaLa is one of these, along with Glenglo, which seems even more widely adaptable. Snowbrite is mentioned by Dr Des Layne as another candidate.

I definitely got the better end of the deal, but I’m glad you enjoyed the fruit.


#5

For those who don’t already know-- the GaLa peach is spelled that way on purpose. It stands for Georgia-Louisiana. The variety was developed in a collaboration with Georgia and Louisiana scientists. The spelling also distinguishes it from confusion with the popular Gala apple variety.


#6

By the way-- I suspect the farmers picked this batch of Glenglo a day or two too early, which may have limited their ripening potential.


#7

Walter,

This week I’m sending you a fresh cutting of Battaglia Green fig.

If it cooperates like all the other figs you’ve successfully cloned, then you’ll have no trouble rooting this cutting.

If it eventually fails, then I can attempt my first air-layer in the spring. Determined to share this variety with you…


#8

Matt,

Just noticed this thread. Wanted to comment on Glenglo/GaLA. I think actually the farmer picked the Glenglo late, at least for the good Glenglos (assuming he didn’t refrigerate them). Here, Glenglo ripens about 9 days before GaLA (although ripening times can vary somewhat in different locales).

This is significant in the tasting of the two because the best peaches on a given tree ripen earlier. The more shaded inside peaches ripen later, and are of substantially lower quality. In fact here, buy the time we started picking GaLA, we pretty much quit picking Glenglo for number one peaches. Any peaches left on a Glenglo tree would be sold as number 2s by the time GaLa started picking.

As a side note, GaLa didn’t work out for me for that slot just before Redhaven, it was just too unproductive here. I have hopes for Clayton for that spot. It’s still a bit early in the evaluation, but so far Clayton is looking good for that pre-Redhaven hole you mention.

Btw, I think we need to make you the official travel ambassador for the forum (I think you’ve visited more members than anyone.) I can’t promise any salary for the position, and no travel expenses will be paid, but I believe the job satisfaction will be quite high. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::yum:


#9

Matt, just got your note with tracking info on the BG cutting. Thanks a lot! I hope I can get it going.

I also found a very tasty green fig growing over at the community gardens and was able to secure a few cuttings from it. Since it was planted by someone who has left the plot a long time ago, I don’t know what it is, but if it turns out well I’ll see if you are interested in a cutting next year. It has survived without any protection for years, so seems pretty hardy.

Thanks for your notes on Glengo vs. GaLA Olpea. I think I’ll have to ride out to some of these orchards and pick them myself and then test. It would be interesting to see how productive the trees look as well. In the mean time I’ll see if I can get peaches off my Gold Dust and Contender trees at the far ends of the season.


#10

Were you able to get Loring to take? It was pretty hot that time of year- maybe too hot.


#11

No the Loring didn’t take unfortunately. For whatever reason, both of the Gold Dust grafts took and thrived (on P. Americana), but none of the other varieties took. This was several early and later attempts, including the Loring from you. I expect I need to work on my timing and maybe protect the grafts with tin foil if it get’s really hot. I’m using that stretchy black tape and I think it might just be getting too hot.