Finally, the weather turned to ‘not rainy’ and my schedule cleared up and I could go tree shopping. Only I’ve left it a little late. I knew I had but didn’t realise just how late as all the good stuff was gone. It was my worst fear. Well actually that is an overreaction, but it was rather disappointing. Aside from earlier in the week, I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of becoming an orchard keeper and didn’t have the time to go off in search of trees.
The up side was I was able to get some of what I needed, and I think I will just need to lurk in every nearby nursery and tree seller over the next wee while until I find what I need. There is no real hurry, not really, except for my desire to indulge in fresh peaches and have plums for Christmas (maybe not this one) and sink my teeth into a sweet crispness that is fresh apples straight from the tree. Once you know the pleasure of these things it is difficult to be without.
I was able to cross some things off my list, so progress is being made. I have acquired a Santa Rosa Plum which is a complete must have if you want to grow many plums as it is a pollinator to many. In the old orchard I wasn’t getting a harvest of plums and kept adding more plum trees in the hope they would make good friends and neighbours with no real resolution to the problem until I planted a Santa Rosa and then the plums finally began to put in an appearance. Sadly, that first bumper crop was the in the season we sold up and left. It broke my heart to see the potential harvest after years of waiting. So, this time I am starting well.
These plums are said to be very yum with medium sized fruit with purple skin and yellow flesh and juicy. They should be ready for harvest in mid-summer which will be perfect for grazing on fruit in the lazy, hazy days of summer.
To go with it, I didn’t quite get what I wanted but with the beauty of the great big internet in my hand I did a quick search right there and then to compare the varieties in front of me to see if any remotely matched my list. I found a Wilsons Early would give me my Christmas plums and is great friends with Santa Rosa. I still need a Black Doris for that late season deliciousness and I want a Damson – for the gin! I will keep looking for these.
I also wanted an early, mid and late season apple that stores well. But I didn’t really want anything ordinary and the nursery was awash with granny smiths. I didn’t really know what I wanted for mid and late season options and figured I’d know it when I saw it. Fortunately, they had just one tree left for my early choice – a Cox’s Orange. I vaguely remember my Grandfather growing these. It think they were the ones, I’ll know when I take that first bite. So, the apple search goes on.
I managed to get a couple of Feijoas as while one is good, two are better. They had the Mammoth ones I was after, but not my other choice, but at the end of the day, any feijoa is a good feijoa so I picked up an Apollo which is said to have large fruit and excellent flavour.
They also had my choice of Blueberries, so I have a Blue Dawn (which I had at the last place) and a Blue Magic. These will go into the fruit cage, that still needs building, over beds that still need building and filling. But good things take time and we’ll get there. I also picked up a Black Satin Blackberry for in there too. It is said to have large berries with a unique tart / sweet flavour. This does concern me a little – that ‘unique’ word as the last time I tried a berry like this, I grabbed it on a whim at the garden centre and didn’t actually enjoy the flavour. This is one plant I didn’t mind leaving behind.
And finally, I grabbed an Olive. It was on the list but more as a wish and I hadn’t spent anytime looking into it, but as they didn’t have anything else on my list I kind of impulse bought to feel like I wasn’t so far behind with my tree buying project. Everyone tells me olives will do well here so we well see. If it is the wrong kind, then I can always get a different one – we have the space.
I do feel a little sorry for the humble collection of trees I have just acquired as I have a ‘do or die’ philosophy when it comes to fruit trees. I have tried to select varieties that are suggested to do well here but add the sea element to the mix and I’m really not sure how they will do. But I can only but try. It is better to try and fail than not try at all and never know you have missed out on all that you could have.
Come again soon – the tree search will continue with gusto.
Sarah the Gardener : o)