with the warm weather it means some of the fruit trees are in bloom, the service berries look ready to bloom, the apricots have already started and i’ve noticed some cherries in bloom. i’ve been taking a walk every few days to stop by the polyculture orchard we planted last spring at hope takes root, the community garden by my house.
one of the aspects of placing fruit trees in a community garden is that you don’t have full control over how they will be treated. a couple of events may alter the growth and survival of these fruit trees. the first was the scraping of the fence that surrounded the abandoned liquor store next to the orchard. over the winter sections of the chain link fence were pulled down, dragged though the orchard and into the alley to be hauled away. most of the trees look like they survived, but a few suffered, it’s still hard to tell how they will do. the second event was the random pruning that happened some time over the winter or early spring. some one went though and topped several the trees and cut many of the side branches. they seemed to have particular disdain for the service berries and bush cherries. most of these trees seem to be coming back, but it will certainly be some time before they produce.
the curly dock that i had been battling last spring seems to have come back, i have a date with the shovel to dig some of those out. the dutch white clover i’ve been trying to cultivate has a good hold in most places, though on the orchard edges grasses still dominate, i regret not having frost seeded earlier in the season when i had the chance. everything is starting to grow up, in the next couple weeks it will be time to break out the scythe and do some mowing, as well as weeding around the trees and mulching.
among those already fully in bloom are the bush cherries. these bush cherry produce small tart cherries that are great for juicing, pies, jams, or mead making, but only get 6 feet tall and producing fruit in its first 3 years. they also have gorgeous flowers
this is the nanking variety, perhaps the most well know of the bush cherry varieties. it is full of blooms, and would have more of them if someone had not pruned it so heavily this winter. i’ve not seen the bees visiting them yet, but i’m hopeful we get the first harvest of cherries this year.