The orchard has just started blooming and I thought you might like to take a walk with me to see the lovely blossoms. Our pear trees are the first to bloom, usually around the first week in May with the apples starting to bloom about a week later. I don’t keep records of the exact day but I know that come Mother’s Day here in New Hampshire the orchard will be in full bloom. Every once in a while the trees will be a few days early but they have never started blooming as early as this year…the second week of April.
Our spring has been crazy with record warm days reverting back to our normal cold temperatures with heavy frosts and then turning warm again. With at least 10 days in the 80’s over the last few weeks, some the trees have magically gone from tight buds to full bloom
Out of the 100 varieties of apples that are in the orchard, the Duchess of Oldenburg have about 50% of their buds opened. They are an early season apple originally from Russia. They are in the center of the orchard and get full sun all day and have bloomed at the same time as the pears this year.
Our pear trees will never grow into large trees because of porcupines. Each summer they come into the orchard just after the sun has set and start removing leaves and branches from our fruit trees. Their favorite trees are cherry and pears, followed closely by the apple trees. They have managed to kill all but one of the cherry trees. The pear trees are all shaped strange because of the branches that the porcupines have chewed off. I usually get enough pears for a tart or two as well as some to poach.
Even though we have had very little rain, the orchard floor has pretty wild flowers if you look close enough. Dandelions are carpeting the entire orchard with their sunny yellow faces. In shady spots, wild pansies also known as violas, and other small flowers abound.
A few wild strawberries have started to bloom. They grow so abundantly that when I am out moving the orchard, you can smell their sweet aroma as the tractor tires pass over.
Since this is earth week, I thought I would let you have a look at what a small apple orchard looks like. By small, I mean we have about 300 trees compared to commercial orchards that have thousands. My husband and I have decided not use any sprays for insects, disease or fertilizers. Most orchards do…even if they say they are organic. When it comes to organic…it means that what is used in an orchard comes from natural ingredients compared to man-made ingredients. You might be very surprised what “natural and organic” ingredients (nicotine is used as an insecticide on many plants) are used to give you absolutely blemish free, beautiful fruits and vegetables.
I have just given you a tease of what to expect when all the trees are in bloom. I hope you enjoyed the stroll through the orchard. Just remember when you go for a walk that there are so many wonderful little wildflowers if you look closely. Many are considered weeds and can be very invasive but they are beautiful none the less.