Sweet Baby Cherries!

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Southern California finally had some much anticipated rain and the heavy showers uncovered some welcomed residents: my first ever cherries.

Southern California finally had some much anticipated rain and the heavy showers uncovered some welcomed residents: my first ever cherries.

There's probably about 20 cherries that were successfully pollinated with hopefully more to come.

There’s probably about 20 cherries that were successfully pollinated with hopefully more to come.

DSCN1399I’m unsure if this is typical, but Royal Lee has out-bloomed Minnie Royal by a long shot, but as long as one produces, I suppose that’s the key.  Going outside this morning to see these cherries filled me with a calm, inspired satisfaction.  I asked for just one cherry and I got many more.

Budding up for Spring

Fruit trees are fantastic planners.  Just as we humans start hunkering down in our winter-y way of life (turning on the heater, spending more time indoors, eating a little more), my fruit trees are also losing their leaves and looking their most bleak.  But under that stripped-down exterior something fascinating is already taking place.  The promise of spring, even when winter has just started, in the form of swelling buds.

Minnie Royal Cherry

Royal Lee Cherry

This being only my second soon-to-be spring with my 2 cherry trees, I’m realizing that their buds may have a head start on my other fruit trees, probably because they are the first to blossom and fruit.

Peach

Eva’s Pride Peach

And of course I have some other winter veggies here and there, such as carrots, lettuce and sugar snap peas.

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These two seem to be relying on each other for mutual support.

These two seem to be relying on each other for mutual support.

One of my flower pots with some extra room is now more beautiful for winter thanks to these beautiful lettuce.

One of my flower pots with some extra room is now more beautiful for winter thanks to these lettuce.

Here is a tally of my mini orchard to date:

  • Red Baron Peach-the matriarch of the backyard having been planted about 6 years ago
  • Minnie Royal Cherry
  • Royal Lee Cherry-these two require each other for pollination
  • Snow Queen White Nectarine
  • Gold Kist Apricot
  • Burgundy Plum
  • Thompson Red Flame Grape
  • Eva’s Pride Peach

This coming spring is one of my most anticipated yet because I think that maybe, just maybe some of my two year old trees (Eva’s Pride Peach, Thompson Red Flame Grape, Burgundy Plum, Snow Queen White Nectarine) will fruit for the first time.  And that would be the most bountiful with fruit my backyard will have ever been.

PS: My sweet Silkies started laying again after a two month hiatus about a week ago on my birthday.  Thankful!

Second-Chance Plum

A year and half ago I planted two bare-root fruit trees in my front yard.  The area where they were planted I now understand to be the barest of baren wastelands on my whole property.  Over the past year I’ve realized that NOTHING survives there…not even California natives or succulents.  So, determined to save the Burgundy Plum, I carefully dug it up, trying to avoid root damage.  What I saw when it came out of the ground was very telling…hardly any root growth and what had grown were tiny, string-like roots.  I gave it a new home in my backyard in a veggie bed next to the new pergola, where the soil is naturally richer and has had the advantage of amendment over the past 3 years.

Well Plum lost all her leaves almost immediately.  The only way that I could tell it was still alive was a slight scrape of my fingernail on a branch, which revealed bright green.  After a few weeks I could see new leaves start to bud out.  I was seeing a second spring.

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She’s still a meek thing, having been starved of nutrients, but I’m hoping that this is a second chance to thrive.  With patience I think that this plum will be a shade-providing, eye-pleasing tree for next to the seating area in the years to come.

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Secret Mulberry Tree

We’ve lived in our home for many years and there is one tree in particular in our neighbor’s yard that I love looking at from the living room.  In fall it turns a spectacular yellow color, goes bare in the winter and fills out in the spring with beautiful light green foliage.  This tree means spring for me, undergoing one of the most significant transformations around my home.  I’ve always wondered what kind of tree it is.

Today I glanced out of the window and noticed hundreds of tiny, maroon berries hanging throughout.  I honestly cannot remember ever seeing these berries before.  (It makes me feel like a bit of a doofus.)  I narrowed my eyes to see these berries come into focus as mulberries.  Yes, mulberries!  Score!!!  My family has had the pleasure of a bag of mulberries for the past few springs from a friend’s mulberry tree in a neighboring town.  They are somewhat unique in taste, similar to a plum tasting berry with floral undertones.  Thanks to my new heightened sense of all things edible, we’ll not only continue to appreciate this tree’s beauty, but also the newly discovered fruit that it bears for years to come (with permission from my neighbor of course).

I quickly grabbed a bag and went outside.

This tree is about 20′ tall.

Here are the little darlings. When ripe, they just fall off into your hand with the slightest touch.

Aren’t they beautiful?  You can eat the stem, but I prefer to eat the berry alone by sliding the stem through my teeth.

I thoroughly intend on knocking on my neighbor’s door to ask about harvesting more.  The majority of the fruit are still immature, but by the looks of many ripe mulberries on the ground, this neighbor isn’t making mulberry pie.  And I hate to see good food go to waste.