P.O. Box 29
Philo, CA 95466
Beloved as the first fruits of the season, cherries have resisted the market trend to make every fruit a year-long commodity. Cherry breeders and marketers have found in the fruit's genes no way to extend the cherry season beyond the brief, but spectacular, bliss of late spring. The best way to make the most of the season is to grow your own! Ours is the only nursery to offer the finest cherries. You will want to plant more than one variety, and that will provide the pollination these finest eating cherries require. There are two things you can do to demonstrate that garden cherries are worthwhile: 1. Head Low: cut the newly-planted cherry off at no more than a foot above ground and encourage low multiple branches with each pruning. This makes the tree shorter and easier to net against birds. 2. Apply Tanglefoot: to trunk 6 inches above ground and keep it freshly disturbed. Aphids are the worst enemy of garden cherries and are introduced and re-introduced by ants. Keep the ants from entering the tree with a fresh band of tanglefoot.
These golden fruits seem the quintessential Californian fruit, beautiful on tree or on plate, so aromatic and flavorful, and so ill adapted are they to conditions in the rest of the world. No other fruit is nearly a lost art form. as the traditional varieties are no longer grown and modern ones unsatisfactory, that the apricot may soon vanish from commerce. The only way to be assured of the genuine article is to grow it one's self. We offer three traditional Californian cultivars and also three from abroad, to introduce our public to white apricots and an even greater range of apricot experience. As suburban areas grow ever warmer in winter, home growers discover that apricots are sensitive to insufficient winter chill, which causes late winter bud drop. Note the necessary chill for each variety.
Improbable hybrids between Plum and Apricot, Plumcots may resemble plums, with a smooth skin and clingstone, white, juicy flesh, or apricots' fuzzy skin and yellow freestone fruits. When Luther Burbank publicized his first plumcot hybrids, "professional" pomologists denounced them as a hoax. Burbank was vindicated later, but meanwhile his reputation had been unjustly damaged by pomologists who lived in inclement climates and had no experience with either Asian plum or apricot breeding. It was later demonstrated that plumcots had arisen centuries ago naturally, hybrids between apricot and cherry-plums (Prunus cerasifera). We offer one of this type. Currently, many fruit breeders are popularizing hybrids between apricots and Asian plums. All true plumcots are scanty bearers if lacking appropriate pollenizers nearby, and are very sensitive to insufficient winter chilling.
Wonderfully versatile fruits, these plums originated in East Asia and were introduced to Japan, and then to California in the 1870s, and from here to the rest of the world. Today, most fresh plums in commerce are of the Asian type and are varieties that originated in California. Usually clingstone, the Asian Plums progress as they ripen from firm, dry and dense to veritable sacks of juice, so should be picked and refrigerated at the stage you prefer. Varying in flavor, many retain a tartness that makes them usable in any cooked form - jellies, jams, cobblers, curd; try blood plum pie! They need no peeling. Are generally improved in bearing by planting more than one, though most of those offered are partially self-fertile.
The tree-ripened peach compresses within its skin the distilled essence of summer, and for that there is no substitute in the experience of the season. Cherries may mark the turn of spring, but without at least four peach trees, there can be no early summer, no midsummer, no late summer, not even a summer turning into fall ... you came here seeking one essential peach tree, and now you're planning an orchard! Truly, each of the varieties offered are the finest of their kind and season and one taste of any of them would justify their place in your garden. All are freestone, unless noted. Chill hours are suggestive only and are not determinative in every season.
More than a Peach, not less, is the Nectarine. It does lack a peach's skin, but in its best representatives, has an aroma and flavor that no peach can approach. The rich, complex fragrance of a true nectarine is almost impossible to describe to the uninitiated, but it is real, and somehow connected with the glabrous skin of the "slick peach." Yet a nectarine tree may produce an occasional branch of peaches, or even of fruits that are half nectarine, half peach, and the flesh will change in aroma accordingly! Nectarines are self-fruitful and require the same considerations as peaches, but are peculiarly sensitive to brown rot and cannot well be ripened where rains are usual during summer.
Without a doubt the sweetest of all the temperate fruits, the European plums include gages, prunes, mirabelles and tart fruits used only for cooking: damsons, bullaces and sloes. All are more or less freestone, fleshy, firm and never watery. The gages are particularly renowned dessert fruits with a characteristic flavor resembling the best apricots, but are now little known or grown on this country. Rarely self fertile, plant two for proper pollination.
Portuguese legend tells of the Lusitanian emir whose bride pined for the snowfall of her far-northern native land. The emir was inspired to plant all the lands visible from his castle with almond trees which, in their first winter of bloom, covered the countryside of Algarve with billows of blossoming snow! This story speaks to the many uses served by an orchard properly chosen, no less for the decorative value of this most garden-worthy of nut trees.
We offer three varieties of almond, each remarkable in its own way, none of them available from any other source. Cross-pollination is a problem for almonds that in the past has required sacrificing a second orchard spot for a suitable pollenizer, which we have solved by offering a productive self-fertile almond variety which can, of course, serve in its turn as a pollenizer for any other offered here.
The definitive fruit of Western Civilization, the apple is at once the most familiar and least known of all the fruits in its full range of possibilities.
For a brief moment in our recent history, the overthrow of the 'Red Delicious' apple made thinkable a marketplace of many apple types: large or small; sweet or tart or both simultaneously; yellow, purple, green, pink, nearly black, or white even, striped, splashed, spotted, russeted or waxy; the flesh yellow, red, snow white or pink; each ripe in its appropriate season from June until May. Truly, all the possible permutations of apple characters in color, size, season, flavor and texture could justify an orchard of a thousand named varieties, and every one unique and indispensable to the fruit lover.
Commerce has again enforced a single apple upon the public, the ubiquitous 'Fuji' and its variants, advantageous because neutral in flavor, texture, color and season: we do not require it to be aromatic, or fresh, or red all over, and we accept that it will be waiting for us at the store every day of the year. But above all else in its favor, it can be produced abundantly in commercial grades from Kelowna to Kern County.
We offer from our own orchards of the many dozens of finest apples, just a few best of varieties. How to choose? We have started with those most celebrated in the past, but which have been lost to apple lovers for so long, the mind of man remembereth them not...
The supremely misunderstood fruit, the pear is that hard, dry, flavorless but interestingly shaped stepsister of the green apple in the public mind ... when it is thought of at all. This because so few persons know that the pear is harvested while still hard, then is to be refrigerated for a time before it is allowed to ripen at room temperature into the most subtly liquescent of our fruits, with a texture that melts away leaving only the essence of aroma and sweetness to linger in the mouth. It is one of the few fruits that modern supermarket commerce can get right: cold storage followed by a spell at workplace temperature produces a pear in perfect condition to take home and eat in a few days.
And yet, the choice in the market is limited to but two or three types, invariably held over in storage for months beyond their proper pull date. 'Bartlett' should not be seen beyond the end of September, and ‘Comice’ not long after Christmas. The industry loves 'Anjou' which is practically indestructible and its fruits deteriorate in cold storage so slowly that they are practically unchanged a year from harvest!
We offer varieties not available elsewhere, to extend the season beyond that of garden-center pears and introduce our public to the finest of pears. Each is a slightly different revelation of how good a fruit can be, and justifies its space in the home orchard. The pear is especially the fruit of the French-speaking world and for that reason, the vocabulary of pear varieties is a foreign one. There is no better way to learn a new language!
Pears are not reliably self-fertile so it is best to plant two different varieties. The great scourge of pears is fireblight, a bacterial disease that starts in the terminal growths by mid-spring and works downward. It stops its course of destruction when it pleases, sometimes sparing the branch, other times consuming the tree to its graft union. It is particularly virulent, and its start not limited to infections of flowers, where early season heat is experienced. We do not recommend growing pears from San Jose southward for that reason. The culture of garden pears is progressively easier in the northward direction.
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