As I wrote last month, we recently purchased a batch of young fruit and nut trees for the hill directly behind our new house. Lots of aging apple trees here, and loads of invasive buckthorn which we are gradually eradicating. We’ve got a plan for turning the hill that really is our back garden into a place for trees with edible offerings, beautifying and practical at the same time.
The 13 trees arrived by mail order yesterday. The packaging is totally genius and I didn’t think to get a first shot with the camera until after we had removed the twine that bound the sacking around the nested baby trees, creating a parcel that almost looked like a short conical broomstick (handle side up). In brief, the trees are gently entwined together roots and all, the roots are protected and kept moist with damp shredded paper, the whole package of trees is supported with a wooden dowel or stick and popped into a couple of plastic sacks (re-used sacks for wood pellets); the resulting parcel is tightly bound in twine to hold it all together.
In the past, we’ve tended to order more mature trees (including two apple, two weeping willow and a maple last year) that needed to be collected or delivered by vehicle. We’ve also bought baby fir trees from our municipality where we had to go and collect them ourselves. But we’ve never bought trees by mail order before. This year after some careful searching we found a wonderful supplier in eastern Ontario (ie the part of the world where we live and are growing trees) that has an excellent reputation for successfully shipping baby trees by post, and they carry the types of nut and fruit trees we were wanting to invest in. We can confirm that the method used by the Golden Bough Tree Farm in Marlbank, Ontario is as good as they claim it is.
The shot above shows the 13 young trees entwined together after the packaging was removed. Golden Bough’s site is very clear about what to do as soon as the trees arrive: either immediate planting or else gently heeling the combined lot of trees into a shady spot in the garden until planting spots are ready. We gave our trees a temporary home in our north facing front garden until we could plant them properly. Seeing them planted as a single bunch made me smile and wonder who would win if left that way.
Today we planted the six manchu cherry trees (there are also three shagbark hickories, three buart nuts and one black walnut), which we decided would make a wonderful hedge down the edge of the slope that we use daily to get down to and back up from our fields. We spaced them five feet apart, as recommended by Golden Bough. (Note: lots of buckthorn still to be removed on the hill, but we’re taking it slow and removing only as we get our new trees in place.)
My older son was thrilled to commandeer our latest manual tool, a post hole digger. Like his mother, he’s happiest working outside with a stylish hat – in his case, a black pinstripe fedora.
We planted the manchu cherries with a mix of fresh compost, some peat moss and some of the soil dug up from the holes (largely clay mixed with sand) and watered them in deeply. We’ll have to take good care of them as they are so young, and the hill they now occupy is very windy, but we have fingers crossed that someday we’ll have a lovely hedge with edible cherries running partway down our hill.
We’re so busy outside right now that supper came from a local chip truck. What I’d really love is some recipes using cherries so that I can dream about the future fruits of our labour. Anyone have any wonderful cherry-based recipes?