Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fruit Trees in the Front Yard

One morning before 9 am there was a knock on our front door. It turned out be be a woman from Montreal, on a tour of British Columbia. As a child, she had moved into our house in 1942. We gave her the grand tour of this house that has seen few changes since it was built in the late 30's. I was most interested in her description of the garden that her mother had in the back yard. Along with a rose arbor and a "victory" garden, there were fruit trees at the south end of the lot. Alas, these trees have all disappeared as it is now too shady due to huge conifers in the immediate surrounds. However, one "heritage" apple tree remains. The owner prior to us transplanted it from his farm on Vancouver Island, perhaps in the 50's or 60's. We have enjoyed these tasty Cox's Orange Pippin apples for many years, but age and increasing dense shade have taken its toll, resulting in an unhealthy-looking tree:

At the UBC Apple Festival in October 2008, I met an expert at grafting. She took a twig of the old tree in the spring of 2009, grafted it onto semi-dwarf stock, and produced a "whip". In October in the sunniest spot I could find in the front yard, I planted the new Cox's Orange tree:

Coincidentally, there's another fan of Cox's Orange trees on 11th Avenue who planted two of them on the boulevard, perhaps last fall. This photo is from July:

Three fruit trees (perhaps apple) are newly planted on 30th Avenue, in a front yard that is being dug up. It's hard to see any of the trees, but look for the yellow label on one of them.

On 31st Avenue, east of Dunbar, a new cherry tree has been planted on the boulevard. I suspect that the landowner planted it since it is an edible variety--one of the coveted Rainier cherries!

Planting fruit trees on either side of the city's sidewalk can be a good option in terms of available sunlight, assuming the boulevard trees do not make too much shade. It can be a small beginning to creating an edible front yard!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Harvest of Tomatillos on November 10

Tomatillos have been so great this year that next year I hope to plant some in the front yard! (These are from my back yard veggie garden.) Since colder weather has arrived, I decided to harvest all the more or less mature tomatillos to make a salsa and a salad. Two advantages of tomatillos over tomatoes are that tomatillos can tolerate some cold weather and they are not affected by blight.

(Photos courtesy of J. Evan Kreider.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Native Plant

On November 1, I encountered these beautiful specimens of Amanita muscaria growing in a front yard on West 31st Avenue in Vancouver. Are these edible? According to Wikipedia, perhaps, but only under certain conditions. It's best only to admire them. I wonder how the animal feels that took a bite from the one in the left background.

In the same front yard, these more mature specimens are growing.