Thursday, February 16, 2017

American Orchards Are Ugly

Dear Reader,

As you know, I love planting multi-grapht espalier fruit trees in my backyard. I plant them first and foremost to produce the kind of fruit our family likes to eat. If one is not interested in growing a certain fruit, or baking with it - I suggest growing something else.

My backyard currently has six trees, including a special Nadia cherry/plumb hybrid. I have a four graft pear tree growing in another part of my years. Graphing, cloning and cross breeding stone fruit trees have far-reaching implications for my tree sculptures, such as biodiversity, food culture, and most importantly the symbiosis of human kind's relation to nature.

ugly non-existant underplanting
In the past, stone fruit is grown for one purpose: what the masses want to buy. That's it. Fruit are picked too early, placed in a dark cool spot to ripen, then put on the shelves. Wrap your minds around this: there are hundreds of varieties of peach, your local supermarket will sell four, maybe five if you are lucky. Wouldn't it be great if we could have one peach tree with six, seven, eight or more varieties of peach on one tree? Wouldn't it be nice if each backyard had at least one multi-graft tree in your backyard?

I love multi-graph espalier fruit trees. An espalier is any tree which has been trained to grow in two dimensions. Espaliers can be pruned to grow first branches low, then grow level by level, to a great height but next to no depth. This mean it it will not shade out other trees, particularly grown on a
fence. As grafted stone fruit

My trees are my art, multigraph espalier trees are a way to express my art. The structure is beautiful, they flower at different times in various shades of white, blue, pink and beige.

For the backyard orchardist (non-commercial) why are American people so hell bent on making their backyard orchards look as ugly as possible? What is so hard about planting small fields of lavender under fruit trees? What is so difficult about planting Dalias, Roses, Azalias or some other beautiful underplanting? The purpose of this blog is to shift common paradigm that space under a fruit tree should be kept clean because many plants grown under a tree will not survive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many plants benefit the tree for many years to come.

I hope we start considering making our little orchards a little more beautiful this spring and summer.

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