A BRIEF REPORT on orchard production at my place this year: "Belle" or "Belle of Georgia" as it is usually, but I think incorrectly, called, presented me with three peaches, one of them superb.
Peaches are not supposed to fall off in great storms, but all three did, and only one was ready to pick. A slug got into one, when it hit the ground, but I cut out the damaged part. Allow me to say I have not had such a fine peach this summer.
The three, needless to say, is quite young, and is grown on a dwarfing stock.
Now the plum, "Stanley Prune," is still too young to bear. I expect great things of it.
A drought in the spring hit the newly-planted red raspberries," Heritage."
One of the few things that kills red raspberries outright is a drought just after they have been planted. You get out and water them, of course, but it was clear to me the heavens would open up any day, and besides I was occupied with daffodils and other things. I lost several "Heritage" plants. Even so, there were three or four berries which I do not doubt were delicious.
I neglected to watch closely, once they turned pink, and the next time I looked they were gone.
The two grape vines, "Steuben," froze to the ground this past winter. I have no idea why, since other grapes did not and "Steuben" was bred, after all, in upstate New York. Anyway, no grapes on it.
But "Buffalo," a blue grape of "Concord" type, only with a more delicate (less intense) flavor, has borne heavily. Too heavily, I think. A young mockingbird hatched rather late, it seems to me, timed things to his growing period coincided with the ripening of "Buffalo."
He is much tamer than most young mockingbirds, and somewhat tubby. He is eating too many grapes, byt I cannot tend to everything.
The older mockingbirds, catbirds and the female cardinals are busy eating grapes also. I had not noticed cardinals eating grapes in other years, and wonder if this means something sinister, such as another outrageous winter.
The white grape, "Villard Blanc," has borne heavily. It is a trifle more tart than the green grape you see in grocery stores from California, called "Thomson's Seedless." I have alternately eaten "Villard Blanc" and the California grape from the store at the same sitting and find my home-grown grape just about the same. "Villard Blanc" has seeds, and the berries are spherical instead of egg-shaped.
The white grape, "Verdelet," had just a token handful of grapes. I ate a couple too soon, and the rest disappeared.
The grapes "Alden" and "Monticello," are too young to bear. I am not giving them very good locations and do not expect much beyond beautiful leaves - perhaps I might get an occasional bunch two years from now.
One fig froze to the ground this winter and is not fruiting. The other one, "Celeste," was only planted this spring and is too small to bear.
The pomegranate, "Wonderful," froze to the ground, but has put out new growth (like the fig). No fruit, of course, I do not like pomegranates anyway, except as ornaments.
The young blueberries had severalberries on "Earliblue," "Blueray" and "Herbert" which ripened at the same time. (Normally there is a spread of several weeks in them.) They were not very good.
On the other hand, I had no right to expect any berries at all this year.
The crabapple, supposed to be "Hope," but I do not much like the leaf - though young fruit trees can deceive you - is too young to bear. The ornamental plum, Prunus bleiriana, sometimes bears small plums, I have read, but I have never see any. Mine flowered heavily, as usual (it is a great joy, flowering two days after the forsythias start, and in some places it is earlier than forsythias), but no fruit. They would be nice for the birds.
Apples are excellent for apple fanatics, and I do not grow any. I go berserk for boysenberries, but have not space for them - not that that always stops me - and as for strawberries, I do not have the rights place for them. In theory they take little room, but that is not my experience with them. A friend of mine brought me some "Fairfax" this spring, and I am glad to see somebody still grows strawberries worth eating. Many gardeners do, no doubt, but the ones in groceries are so sour they do not seem to me fit to eat.
Surely most people do not care how big the berries are, as long as they are intensely perfumed and sweet.
You can sell virtually anything, it sometimes appears, and you would not believe the number of peole who will eat those revolting pale pink tomatoes. If you get them in a restaurant you should complain, or at least I do, and I will not eat them. Not that that makes any difference. In Washington people will pay $5 for a salad with bad tomatoes like damp cardboard.
In the summer, at least you can get magnificent tomatoes at some groceries and if you grow your own they are perfect. We have had some fine "Rutgers" and "Burpee's VF Hybird" this year.
Does anybody eat plantain, that admirable weed that grows so well? Next year, without fail, I intend to try it, especially since it grows better at my place than I have ever seen it anywhere else in the world.