Soon to be renowned!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Orchard Has Been Labeled

Well, not really.
I still need some good, permanent labels to affix to the trees, for posterity (ha! Such technology does not exist! Every tagging, labeling system yet created will eventually fall off, decay, become illegible, or otherwise disappear as everyone who has tried well knows). So this is more of an online labeling session for all the countless readers out there who are begging to know what, exactly, I have planted in Fencebroke's orchard.
Well, not really.
No one was begging per se, but I could tell everyone was wondering.
So here is the roster of my fruity all star team.

In this corner, looking like mere stubs after some ruthless formative pruning, measuring in at just under three feet tall, are the mini-dwarfs! These babies are all grafted on super-dwarfing rootstock M27 which should keep them, even at maturity, at barely six feet tall! Don't let their size fool you, though, mini-dwarfs are used in commercial orchards in Europe because they pack so much punch in such a small space. Let's hear it for the little guys: apple varieties 'Liberty', 'Akane' and 'Karmijn de Sonnaville'!

And in the middle, forming the sturdy backbone of the group, we have the espaliers! Woo! Yeah! As mentioned in the previous post, these two were a housewarming gift from my parents. They brandish a different apple type on every outstretched arm (and look a little like policemen directing traffic, if you ask me). These include: Gravenstein, Honeycrisp, King, Jonagold, Spartan and Akane! That's a championship-caliber assortment, and if you can't find an apple you like somewhere in there, I don't want to be your friend.

And finally, anchoring the team in this corner, the only non-apple of the group, the outsider who promises big things: 'Hardired' Nectarine! That's right, I planted a nectarine! My Dad did some recruiting on this one, pointing it out from the Raintree catalog as an exceptional nectarine, which is supposed to perform well in the maritime Northwest. We'll see; I'm not signing any long-term contracts. But if it does thrive! Nectarines are not only the most delicious fruit of summer (this has been scientifically proven true, I'm pretty sure), but are also beautiful trees year round. It's possible we've landed a future superstar with Hardired.

I have also invited an old veteran to join the team: an Italian Prune, but we have not yet settled on agreeable terms (read: I can't find one cheap enough without placing another Raintree order and I don't want to pay more shipping costs). This old reliable plum is simply the best for eating fresh and for drying into prunes. Not the most attractive tree, but then not everyone is fortunate enough to have the looks of Mr. Pretty Boy Nectarine over there.

So that's the orchard lineup as I have it penciled in for opening day. Doubtless there will some late additions in the form of berries and other bit-players, but the core roster has been set.
Now we'll see if they're just a bunch of overpaid divas, or a true team of winners. I better go out and yell at them for a while; I don't want to start the season with a bunch of soft, out of shape trees.

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