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!


Anne said...

Hi - We had Cox's Orange apple tree when I was a kid and I really liked the fruit. I don't remember too well what the problem with the tree was, but my parents took it out when I was a young teen - I think it had a disease/poor yield problem.
My husband (Lars Kaario - Evan will know him!) and I are thinking of planting an apple tree in our yard and wondering what kind. Do you find the Cox needs much care? We are doing our best to garden organically and so really want naturally disease-free plants. Also, how large did your mature tree get? We're hoping to find a fairly small one for the space we have.

Thanks! And I do like your blog! Like going for a walk!


Janice Kreider said...

Evan says hello to Lars too! Regarding our mature Cox's Orange, it is not very tall, maybe 12 feet. We haven't been spraying, but a lime/sulfur spray is a good thing to do. From what I read and from the grafting expert, I learned that the PH of soil is crucial--it should be on the alkaloid side, so adding lime is important. "Water core" has been a problem for us because I did not add lime until recently. England has a better native soil for Cox's Orange than we do here in the lower mainland. Good luck with whatever you plant! Janice

Anonymous said...

What a lovely blog! You must come and see our yard sometime - we ripped out our front lawn last year and have landscaped with edibles, it has been an amazing experience - and a tasty one! We're newly minted organic master gardeners members of SOUL, who you should check out if you're not familiar, they're a great group. Do you know if there's a Food not Lawns group in Vancouver? Check out my blog about our garden: http://eatyourlawn.wordpress.com
Thanks for the great photos - nice to see inspiration from close to home. :) Stacey

Janice Kreider said...

Apologies for not getting to your comment earlier. I checked out your blog, and it has very good content. You must have done a lot of work to transform your lawn. Yes, I'd like to take some photos of your non-lawn. Even this season is not the worst, because it's good to see how veggie gardens are wintered over, and you appear to be taking a permaculture approach. Send me an email about where you live.