I jotted down all the varieties and dates yesterday: Stella cherry, May 29-June 14, Santa Rosa plum, June 25-July 5, English Morello cherry? Right in between there at June 9-22, the best I was going to get. Those are average ripening times where the grower is in the Central Valley but it tells me what the spacing is so that I don’t have everything happening all at once. The other sour cherries ripened when my sweet Stella does and the English Morello needs a lot fewer chill hours to set fruit than some of the others–so. It was definitely the one.
Checking around, I ended up on the phone yesterday again with San Lorenzo Garden Center in Santa Cruz, where I got that glorious Indian Free peach a month ago.
Yes, they had one. Yes, they would hold it for me. I told them I would come today to get it.
What they didn’t say was that bare root trees were going to be half off today.
And so we set off noon-ish over twisting, steep, narrow Highway 17 with Richard (oh thank you thank you) at the wheel over the mountains (he’s a peach).
And as we went we discussed whether to get more than just that sour cherry. Having allowed as how a good fig was okay by him and with me saying I would want to keep it in a pot so it doesn’t take over the world–and we had the pot–we decided to see what we could see.
We couldn’t find the cherry. Any cherry. We asked for help. The guy looked awhile just like we had and being distracted with multiple people loaded a tree on our cart while I was over looking at mandarins, and as I headed back and looked askance at the height of that thing Richard was going, Uh, the tag says this is a birch.
Oh right. Sorry, he said. (Off with the birch.)
Nope, I checked again, the cherry was definitely not in Plant Hold–and just as I started to say wistfully that we had come from over the hill for it I found it over there with the other bare-roots still but with a tag on it: Sold. With my name and phone number. YES!
By now someone else was helping us out and she asked me (it was quickly clear to her I was the one most vested in this) what shape I wanted: central leader or vase?
I had my opinion but she’s the expert so I told her how I wanted to block the neighbors’ windows as it grew: Vase, said she, and pruned it on the spot. “You’ll need spacers,” looking at the angles on those limbs.
“I have spacers.”
She smiled and nodded. She found a small broken root I would never have noticed and trimmed it off and we were good to go.
Black Jack figs were the variety most recommended to me by a friend who grows several types in our area and so the only one I was interested in. They had a beautiful one. Score.
I was hoping to find a Kishu mandarin. Turns out they’d sold the last one for the year a half hour before we’d gotten there and the growers themselves were completely out of stock.
Having gotten the Page tanangelo I wanted last summer, I wanted a tangerine for Richard, one without grapefruit parentage.
Gold Nugget starts producing after Page is done and not only is the fruit marvelous, it waits on the tree throughout the summer for you to get to as it suits you. (Squirrel netting here we definitely come.)
The surprise of the day was the total. The cherry tree? All of $12.50. The fig? $10. The mandarin, a new, patented variety, was also on sale, and at $25 was the splurge of the day.
$12.50 for organically grown sour cherry pie for life, sweetened with the tangerine juice to come. Not a bad way to celebrate 3/14/15.
I cannot tell you how good it feels to see that cherry in the ground where it’s been looking so bare. The roots were wide–this is good–but it took more work than I expected. (I knew about that old water pipe now. I did not know about that olive root the stump grinder had missed.) I definitely earned my good night’s sleep tonight.
The Gold Nugget will go in that second hole over where I nicked that pipe Thursday night but there are only so many hours in one Saturday and we didn’t get that repaired quite yet. No hurry, that tree came potted.
Monday I’ll get back to work.
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