Early Blossoms

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

Apple Trees In Bloom
From Tight Buds To Full Bloom
Apple Blossoms

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 Β 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.

Pear Tree In Bloom
Pear Blossoms
Pear Tree In Bloom

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 Carpet Of Dandelions
Wild Pansy
Wild Violas
Tiny Wildflowers

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.

Wild Strawberries

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.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

143 thoughts on “Early Blossoms

  1. I read the title of this post in my Reader and thought, what is she cooking now? Teehee. I love this glimpse into your orchard..that second picture is gorgeous! And who knew that porcupines could be such a menace?

    1. Hi Bliss, I thought everyone would enjoy seeing the early blooms. I’m laughing too…no recipe on this post. Porcupines have done terrible damage in our orchard. They are not an animal you wait hanging around.

      1. Thank you for correcting my typo…when I type from the Nook I am always making mistakes.

  2. Wild strawberries that bloom already .. isn’t that a bit early ??? Our apple tree down here on the Apple coast not blooming yet – still we are 4 weeks ahead for the spring. Violets has been blooming for a months nearly. Thanks for bring me along .. on your path.

    1. Thank you Viveka, I’m glad you enjoyed the stroll through the orchard. It is very early for everything to be blooming…a very strange spring so far.

  3. How beautiful Karen! Thank you for sharing that “walk” with me… We’ve had similar weather, and I have some beautiful lilac trees in my yard, but I’m afraid they may not bloom this year because they’ve started budding twice, and then froze! I hope they haven’t given up…they’re so beautiful for the week or two they stay in bloom!

    Many moons ago when I lived on a farm, my Pepere (grandfather) used to make a ring around the trees with lye… that used to keep the critters away from them. It didn’t harm the critters, just stopped them coming so close to the trees and damaging them. I’ve also heard of people using a spray of ammonia and water around the trunks… Not sure if these ideas would be something you’d want to try, but wanted to share nonetheless…

    1. Hi Tami, Thank you for your nice compliment. I do hope that your lilacs bloom…they are such a beautiful sight to see. I will check into your suggestions as the porcupines are very distractive.

  4. Karen, I love reading about your orchard and admiring the photos as much as about your gardening adventures. You have already told me about the 100 varieties, but I’m still in awe. I’m sure you have (at least some) non-commercial deliciously tangy and ugly-looking apples… I am happy there are markets in my city because if I had to buy apples only in supermarkets, I would stop eating them because most apples are just looks and no taste (bland, oversweet, mushy and not tough to make them easier to chew…). Anyway, I’m sure you have wonderful apples!
    Talking about organic food, I often buy organic vegetables, but in colder months because they somehow have more taste and in colder months the outdoor markets are full of imported and really loaded with pesticides stuff. In the summer and autumn I prefer buying on the market even if the vegetables are with pesticides. I have often heard doctors saying that a small amount of pesticides is healthier than huge amounts of copper they often use on organic farms.
    The only organic stall on my market has huge, flawless vegetables and fruits, so I never buy there. I’m sure they use the maximum of allowed copper, nicotine and whatever they can use. The perfect situation is to have one’s own garden and orchard πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Sissi, Thank you for your very interesting comment. I agree with you…sometimes we have no choice on the fruits and vegetables we eat. I did a poll a couple of years ago and asked people which they would prefer…pretty apples or no spray apples. Everyone but two people said that they would prefer apples with no spray. An apple can be delicious even with a few bumps or spots. Apples are just like tomatoes…they are being grown to look good instead of for taste. Many of our heirloom varieties originated in Europe and have so much taste.

    1. Thank you Larry, The orchard really is a lovely place for a walk. It is a real problem that orchardists will face if the weather turns extremely cold during bloom time. Long range forecasts don’t show that happening…I hope they are right.

    1. Thank you so much! I had to lay on the ground to get photos of the little flowers. I kept hoping no one would see me and think I had an accident. LOL.

  5. Wow! 300 trees! That’s quite an orchard. πŸ™‚ Very interesting about the porcupines — are there safe/natural ways that you can stop them from damaging the trees? (Short of putting up a fence, I guess?) Also, your wild pansies are beauitful!

    1. Hi Anne, Thank you for your comment. There really isn’t a way of keeping porcupines out of the orchard…they would just climb over a fence. Aren’t the pansies beautiful. They are so small that most people wouldn’t notice them.

  6. Beautiful! My pears broke bud 2 days ago, and the apples are close. You’ve had more heat than we have – love those ocean breezes!
    The difference between a weed and a wildflower is where it grows! πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi Marie, It really is surprising how early the blooms are here. The other day our area was the warmest in New England. It is really making everything bloom early. I agree with you about weeds and wildflowers, it is all a matter of where they grow.

  7. I love the apple blossom, it is nearly always out around my birthday, and it makes me feel so happy when I see it πŸ˜€ Thank you for sharing, I hope one day to have a small orchard of my own πŸ™‚ x

    1. Hi Katie, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. Apple blossoms are a simple flower but indeed pretty. I hope one day you do get the orchard that you desire.

  8. Beautiful photos Karen, thanks for the tour. We’re having an early blooming Spring here too. I guess probably everyone is this year. With all the critters we live with here in our neighborhood, a friend of mine has dubbed us “wild kingdom”, but one thing we don’t live with is porcupines. I’ve never seen one!

    1. I’m glad you liked the photos Lea Ann. Be very happy that you don’t have porcupines, they are very distractive. We certainly have our critters…deer, turkeys, ground hogs, porcupines and bears. Thank goodness I have never seen any bears but their droppings let me know that they are around occasionally.

    1. Thank you Tanya! I know that your area is beautiful when in bloom. I’m glad you don’t have porcupines but you do have your share of other wild critters.

  9. How beautiful, Karen. The back of the property on which Mom & Dad’s last house was built was a somewhat steep slope, at the bottom of which was a creek bed. That hill, though, was covered in fruit trees, remnants of the land’s former life as a farm many years ago. Granted, the scale was nothing so grand as your orchard but the view from her kitchen table was a thing of beauty this time of year. Thanks for sharing this with us, Karen, and for bringing to mind some great memories.

    1. Hi John, I’m very happy that I brought back fond memories of your parents home. Orchards really are beautiful this time of the year.

  10. Your orchard looks like an amazing place to spend time. I love hearing your stories and seeing your photos.

  11. What lovely photos. Really beautiful. I live in the semi-arid highlands of Mexico with such a different ecosystem. Equally beautiful, but so very different. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos, Victoria. I think one of the nice things about blogging is to see and hear how different it is where we all live. I know your arid highlands have a lot of beauty as well…just different as you say.

  12. Your orchard shot could almost have been taken on our property in the northwest… but no porcupines. Our natural nemeses are dear eating and rubbing bark (esp young tender trees) and raccoons eating the fruit just before and as it is peeking!
    Such a wonderful time of year… thanks for sharing your view.

    1. Hi Wendy, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Deer do a lot of damage to our trees as well. You can’t fight mother nature and win all the time. Birds eat the blueberries before I can ever get enough to make one pie.

  13. Thanks Karen, for the lovely walk through your orchard, it was a nice place to linger with my cup of coffee this morning. πŸ™‚ Our single apple tree and pear tree are in bloom here too, the warm spring weather has made everything green early. While on a walk yesterday, the fragrance of the blossoms was so lovely, nice to just stand still and take it all in.

    1. Hi Judy, I’m glad you enjoyed the walk around the orchard. Isn’t the fragrance wonderful…you can imagine how sweet it smells when all the trees are in bloom.

  14. This truly was a little escape to heaven, Karen, what a stunning orchard and so heavenly full of blossoms like that! I’d love to live on an orchard like this one day.. I’m going to have to cut out a few of these photos and post it on my Inspiration board.. I think I’ll Pinterest them as well! Love all of this.. except those naughty little Porcupines.. I think you should live-trap them and take them around to somewhere far away;) xoxo Smidge I feel inspired to paint these photos!! xoxoxo

    1. Thank you Smidge, for your nice comment. There is one big problem with using Havahart traps. Porcupines are nocturnal…but so are skunks. Both are a real problem to get out of a trap once you catch them. I do use them for ground hogs which are out in the daytime. It isn’t easy living with all of the wild critters that we have.

      1. Oh.. of course, I didn’t even think about that.. just imagine your cages would be full of all sorts of creatures:) It would be a children’s book to write, I think!!

  15. Hi Karen,

    I enjoyed looking at your photos and traveling down memory lane. Growing up my parents had 3 apple trees in our yard. Not only are they beautiful to look at but I love the smell of apple trees in bloom! What a nice space you have!

    1. I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos, Cher. You are right, the fragrance of the apple blossoms is wonderful. I’m glad I was able to bring back nice memories for you.

  16. I can just imagine how beautiful the orchard must be. It looks like a fun place for an afternoon or morning stroll. So peaceful and colorful. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kristy, The orchard really is beautiful. I enjoy the time when I’m out in it working. I know your two little ones would enjoy it when the trees are loaded with apples.

  17. I don’t think I’d get anything done if I had your lovely grounds to wander in all day. I think I would take a book & sit under that stand of white birch – the one w/the pear blossoms in front. How do you not just Zen out every day?

    1. Hi Diane, Our property really is lovely. You would love the spot by the birch trees, that is where our pond is. I’ll do another post that shows the pond…there is a lovely Japenese maple and large willow growing there as well.

      1. Ah, you’re killing me! πŸ™‚ Birch trees and a pond how perfect. If you should happen to see an older woman w/a blanket & book over there don’t shoot – maybe she’ll scare away the porcupines

  18. What a lovely walk through your orchard! I love looking a the wildflowers too ~ even if some of them are weeds such as dandelions. I actually love their yellow color! Who knew about the porcupines! It’s also refreshing to know that your orchard truly is organic! Have a wonderful day, and when you have a moment, please stop by for a “virtual” cup of tea!


    1. Hi Mary, A cup of “virtual” tea would be lovely. I’m glad you enjoyed the walk through the orchard. Yes…we have an orchard that is totally dependent on what nature provides. We use absolutely nothing in the orchard to effect the trees or their crop.

  19. So beautiful Karen! I love spring in New England. Thanks so much for sharing the beautiful pictures… makes me want to go back for a visit. πŸ™‚ Have a lovely week!

    1. Hi Karista, Thank you for your nice compliment. I love living in New England…every season has so much beauty. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. Have a great week as well.

    1. Thank you Claire for the nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I know you will be happy when you are working in your garden…especially with your new seeds to plant.

  20. Oh that is a truly beautiful orchard you have, I dream about having a place like that one day. At least I won’t have to worry about the porcupines here if I do πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Mrs. Simplicity, for your very nice compliment. I hope you do end up with an orchard someday…and nice to know there won’t be any porcupines around.

  21. Oh I do love this, Karen! I think the blossoms are just beautiful! I appreciate the acknowledgement that your orchard is “small”–but that is only in comparison to the larger. To me, this is quite something. And I think of organic producers much like you when I purchase my weekly produce box from local farms. I always feel a connection to how challenging it must be to produce organically. It is a solid choice I appeciate, but even in my little backyard where I also won’t use pesticides, I see the “sometimes damage” that a little “poison” could have prevented and I admire all the more those of you who persevere in keeping this commitment. Yes, please keep sharing the cycle of your wonderful orchard. I have never heard of Duchess of Oldenburg! I’m sure you have some wonderful varieties! Debra

    1. Hi Claire, Thank you for your very nice compliment. It nice to know that you appreciate the way we grow our apples. They may have blemishes on the outside but once the apple is peeled they are perfect. Pretty is not always best. The Duchess of Oldenburg is what is know as a heritage or heirloom variety that originated in Russia and then spread through Europe before being brought to our country. It is primarily known as a cooking apple.

  22. Karen, what beautiful photographs of your orchard. I scrolled through them twice, slowly, to fully appreciate their magnificence. Thank you for thinking to take us along for the stroll, I am so pleased that you did. I eagerly await the next stroll. πŸ˜€
    Over 100 varieties of apples – WOW.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo

    1. Hi Mandy, I’m so happy to know that you enjoyed the stroll through the orchard. We do have a lot of different varieties…most are heirloom varieties. They were planted by the previous owner for making hard cider. I’ll do another post when most of the trees are in bloom. Thank you for your lovely comment.

  23. Hi Karen
    Lovely blossums. So glad to hear you don’t use sprays. I refuse to use them on my trees. The neighbors all tell me you can’t get fruit without. You should have seen the beautiful apples and peaches I had last fall. Oddly enough–some apple varieties got pretty buggy while our favorite (we can’t figure out what variety it is!) didn’t have a single blemish.
    Enjoy the weekend and the blooms

    1. Hi Sue, I’m happy you enjoyed the post. It would really be interesting if the same tree doesn’t have any bug damage again. Hope you have a nice weekend as well.

    1. Hi Tricia, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and hope to see you again.

  24. Karen, I have been away working again so I hope I haven’t missed to many of your posts. Your lovely blossoming trees have already come and gone here in Middle Tennessee…we now have our first local strawberries! A very early, beautiful Spring.

    1. Hi Teresa, I understand that when you are traveling that you get far behind on following blogs. I get behind even when I don’t leave home…just daily life can do that. Please do not worry…I am happy whenever you get a chance to stop by. It really is a very early spring season…it will be interesting to see what the rest of the year has in store for us.

  25. What a lovely orchard. Sorry to hear about the Porcupine damage. They’re selective eaters with an extraordinary ability to remember where their favorite trees are–so you might be able to protect your pear trees with a periodic application of high-velocity lead.

  26. Every time you post pictures like this I feel that pang of jealousy that you live on such a gorgeous piece of property! You’re one lucky woman πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Amy, for your very nice comment. I know what you mean…I still can’t believe that I get to live in a beautiful house that was built 1730 and has such lovely property. The orchard requires a lot of physical work but you are surrounded by such beauty. Thank you for appreciating it as much as I do. I agree…I am one lucky woman.

  27. Porcupines?! I had no idea you had them there, but now that I’ve looked at a range map I see you sure do. Well, at least that’s one destructive creature we don’t have here. Your orchard is beautiful.

    1. Aren’t you lucky to not have porcupines…they are so destructive. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the orchard…it really is beautiful. Thank you Michelle, for your nice compliment.

  28. Spring is beautiful Those wild strawberries taste so good! I haven’t had wild strawberries in a few years. When I was lucky enough to find a good spot and bring some strawberries home, it would perfume the whole house with it’s sweet strawberry smell…

    1. Hi Marina, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. There is nothing like the sweet smell of perfectly ripe strawberries.

    1. Thank you Jomegat for stopping by for a visit and letting me know the name of the tiny wildflowers. It’s nice to meet someone from New Hampshire that is knowledgeable on the native plants in our state.

  29. This is so beautiful. How great that you have all those varieties. That’s a real treasure. I liked your comment about organic pesticides, as well. I think that we can sometimes be too quick to assume that what is organic is harmless.

    1. Hi Siobhan, I’m happy that you enjoyed the stroll through the orchard. I agree with you about organic. Organic just means that it is not man made but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is harmless.

  30. Oh, how beautiful, Karen! So sad to hear the porcupines killed your cherry trees. Being from the DC area and being raised in Japan, they’re my favorite blossoms! ~Ruth

    1. Thank you Ruth, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. Cherry trees really are beautiful in bloom. I have one tree left but it only has a couple of branches remaining.

    1. Hi Tandy, I’m glad that you enjoyed the walk. Yes…the porcupines tend to come out of the bordering woods just as it is turning dark. I hope you have a great weekend as well.

    1. Hi Sharyn, There is not a lot that we can do about the porcupines. They do most of their damage during the summer while we are at our cottage in Maine.

      1. We have a caretaker for when we are gone but I don’t think he would enjoy the orchard in the dark of night. LOL.

    1. Hi Chunklet, I know that areas of the country don’t have a lot of flowering trees. Here in New England you see so many blooming trees…even in the parking lots at the markets where I shop. I think we all want to see something beautiful after months of snow.

  31. How absolutely lovely! I’m particularly thrilled to see the photos of the apple blossoms as you know my energies have been focused there recently!

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment T.W. Yes…I know the hard work that you have been doing. When we bought our property, our trees were terribly overgrown like the ones you are working on. In the next couple of years those trees will look like the ones in our orchard. We went to pruning seminars to learn how to get the orchard back in shape. It is very hard work even today…I forget how sore you get when it is pruning season.

  32. A beautiful walk indeed! Your porcupine story reminded me of my father and his pear tree…every year he would patiently watch carefully his only pear tree on the property develop big fruit and just as he was about to start picking and enjoying a big fat raccoon family would come that night and pick and eat the best ones, while throwing many aside to the ground! They beat him every time! it occurs to me that maybe they were actually porcupines as the bandits always came in the cover of night.

    1. Hi Carol, I’m glad you enjoyed the walk. It was probably raccoons if they only ate the fruit. The porcupines usually just want leaves and branches. It is so frustrating when critters get to what you are growing before you do and I know how your father felt.

  33. How beautiful! From the ground up, all of the blooms are awesome – especially like the viola – we used to call them Johnny Jump Ups when we were kids…don’t know if that is exactly the same, but it sounds funny! Viola is far more grown up – LOL! Our trees came out in full bloom really fast this year in Atlanta, GA, since we had summer weather in the high 80’s for a week, THEN it went back to Spring and is now a cool 65 degrees today. And finally rained for 2 days.

    Your trees are lovely, and it really helped brighten our otherwise cloudy and overcast day here!

    Susan and Wade

    1. Hi Susan and Wade, Happy to have you stop by. Thank you for your lovely compliment. The viola is definitely know as Johnny Jump Ups in many parts of the country. I’m happy to know that my photos help brighten your gray day.

    1. Thank you Eva, for your lovely compliment. My husband and I consider ourselves very lucky to have such a lovely property to call our home. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, I was thinking about Chicago John when I took the photo of the dandelions. Thank you for the compliment…I love the orchard.

  34. Oh Karen, you make me homesick for Michigan. I remember walking around on those early spring days….the tiny blooms peeking out. Love you apple orchard. We had a few apple trees back then. Love homemade applesauce. Luckily we didn’t have to deal with porcupines!

    1. Hi Barbara, Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m happy that my post brought back good memories of Michigan. Our orchard gives us and others a lot of pleasure. Applesauce from just picked apples is wonderful.

    1. Hi Linda, Yes…your bees would have a wonderful time in my orchard. A neighbor down the road has added hives and I know that they come to visit often.

    1. Thank you Diane, for your very nice comment. I do love this time of the year…the flowers are so welcomed after a snowy and cold winter.

    1. Spring is a wonderful time of the year. When the snow melts, the daffodils start blooming, and trees are full of colorful blossoms you know spring has arrived. This year it came very early but it is truly welcomed whenever it comes.

  35. I love seeing this. It gives me what I hope is a glimpse into my future (minus the porcupines I hope lol). My husband and I recently bought a house with a small amount of land and are now in the process of planting fruit trees on it to get our own mini (very mini; we hope to eventually have about 25 trees) orchard. So it’s cool seeing it on a larger scale πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Janet, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. When your trees start producing apples, 25 trees will seem like a lot. Good luck with your new home…that is terrific.

  36. Porcupines?!? I am impressed, and feel in good company, with groundhogs climbing up our pear trees and usually not even leaving enough for one single pie. But somehow you just put up with it. That’s country life…

    1. Hi Nadia, There certainly are a lot of critters that give us grief. The porcupines not only eat the pears but cut off branches on the trees. I have groundhogs as well but have never had them climb into the trees.

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