Crazy About Fruit Trees

Honey Bee on Flavor Delight Aprium In keeping with our fruit tree fascination (well, obsession really), hubby and I wanted to take our “interests” a bit further.  Our goal… to explore other fruit options beyond the multitude of fruit tree varieties available to the home gardener.  Before I finish my thought about that (yup, a cliffhanger), let’s take a step back for a moment. Some of you may be wondering how growing fruit trees captured our hearts and took over a good portion of our 1/2 acre property. Well, simply put, it’s just where we happened to start with our sustainable garden.  Nothing more to it than that, really.  Okay, so m-a-y-b-e we’ve gone a bit further with our orchard than the average backyard gardener, but that’s just us pushing the envelope as usual. So, with an assortment of gardening tools at the ready and a simple child-like scribble of a sketch clutched tightly in hand, we plunged a shovel into our rocky unforgiving soil and claimed a spot for our orchard.

What actually got the “ball rolling” was when I contacted a local horticulturist about an article he had written in one of our local newspapers.  In his article, he provided a fairly extensive list of recommended fruit trees and rootstock information for our area.  The most intriguing part of his article is the fact that every recommended fruit tree listed was compiled from a 15 year test performed at a local test orchard here in town, spearheaded by the same horticulturist I spoke with.

Such a list is a much sought-after commodity for those living in a hot and dry climate, such as the Mojave desert, who desperately want the following questions answered, “can you grow fruit trees in the desert and if so, which ones do best?”.  The answers provided within this coveted fruit tree list were impressive and pressed for further exploration.  It sure peaked our interest, especially since the test orchard was only a stones throw away from our newly purchased home. Cha ching!  An information seeker’s dream come true.  It also helped that the horticulturist got us connected with an organic group here in town ~ the folks we actually ordered our first several fruit trees through.022213_Aprium2

As far back as I can remember, both hubby and I frequently pondered the thought of growing a few fruit trees and starting a small veggie garden to help replace some of the veggies we were purchasing from the grocery store, but we just never took it to the next step. Those were the days when news of e-coli or salmonella outbreaks from store-bought produce were a rarity and growing your own food was more a matter of convenience than a health necessity. Oh, how things have changed in just the past 20 some years.

We first began dreaming of a world with home-grown fruits and veggies when we lived in Southern California.  During our renting days, in a small but cozy duplex lushly landscaped with hibiscus and holly bushes, our landlord gave us permission to plant whatever we wanted in a small planter at the back of our duplex. I’m sure we could have done something with it, but we were young and busy with our careers to pay it any mind.

Shortly after moving into our first home, I was smitten with the look and feel of a cottage garden with its loose and carefree design filled with clusters of roses, perennials and bulbs with a promise of days gone by.  These special gardens just speak to my heart and shout loudly with a happy and inviting voice “welcome, come sit a while and enjoy the beauty around you”. I fell in love with cottage style (both inside and outside our home) and haven’t looked back since.  The dream of fruit trees and veggies took a back seat to this new adoration.

Cottage1 Cottage2

Moving to Southern Nevada made us yearn for our ole’ cottage garden but we did our best to create what we thought was a “compatible” desert xeric garden ~ still no fruit trees or veggies.  I guess we were a bit shell-shocked at the time from the big move from green and plush to rocks and dirt plus it didn’t help that we were very skeptical about anything growing here. Today we know better!

Fast forward to today.  Here we sit within our “much in need of TLC” home with more “need to get done” projects than we can wrap our heads around.  A 1/2 acre lot that also has just as many “have-to” projects and only have a “penny” budget to do it all with.  But… you know what?  God always provides and our fruit orchard gives us such sweet rewards 🙂

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So what’s in store for us regarding new fruit options?  I think I may have mentioned this in another post, but we now have Southern Highbush blueberries.  We also hope to grow watermelons this summer.  More info to come!

120312_FutureBlueberries

022213_Sunset1God Bless,

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6 Comments

Filed under Art & Creativity, desert gardening, Fruit Trees/Orchard

6 responses to “Crazy About Fruit Trees

  1. Lois

    Your flowers are beautiful.

  2. Our duplex was just South of Willow on Clark, too. And now we live in the middle of the same neighborhood you used to rent in, just a couple blocks further North of Wardlow and a few blocks in. Small world. 🙂

  3. Stunning photography! You do beautiful work in both your backyard orchard and with your camera. I am amazed at how much you can grow so much in such a hot dry climate. It is interesting to read a little about how you got to where you are.

    Like you, the landlord we used to have, here in Long Beach, before we bought our current house, also gave us permission to garden in the established planters around the duplex property. I grew lots of tomatoes, herbs, roses, cutting flowers, and lettuce. It made the place feel like home the 3 years we lived there, but I also dreamed of having space of my own that I could plant fruit trees and more permanent plants like grapes. I still drive past the duplex almost daily, and it is kind of sad to see 15 years later that clearly a gardener doesn’t live there anymore. Maybe we used to be neighbors? Did you used to be by Vet Stadium? I am a stones throw from there now.

    I wish I had more room to grow dozens of more fruit trees like you do, but with the high cost of property around here and my husband only having a six mile commute, our tiny 1/12th of an acre urban homestead is all we can afford right now. I just keep squeezing dwarf and semi dwarf stuff in and ripping out anything that isn’t performing great.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks.
    -Lianne

    • Thank you so much for the compliments. It’s always so nice to hear when others appreciate your “art”.

      A ton of stuff can grow here in the desert – can’t wait to get my veggies going. To do that, it requires a little different approach to gardening and to always be creative with your use of water.

      Sounds like you took the time to grow a lot of wonderful veggies when you were renting. I know what you mean about being sad driving by your old place. Hubby and I had a house in Foothill Ranch, CA (my cottage garden), and the folks who bought our house let the garden go – very sad 😦 All the work… and LOVE put into the garden – that’s okay. We both have a little slice of heaven where we’re at now 🙂 We rented a house on Clark Ave near Wardlow for a year before moving further south.

      Check out this awesome resource: http://www.davewilson.com/homegrown/homeindex1.html You can grow productive fruit trees in a variety of different ways – no need to grow 25’high/wide trees. We’re keeping our fruit trees about 8 feet high/wide.

      Chat with you soon!

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