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March 08, 2005

Confessions of a Backyard Orchardist

Annette's orange tree    Annette's new orchard arrivals

As a relative newcomer to California, there are some things about the SF Bay that I just don't take for granted:

    A) sushi
    B) the beach
    C) 7 mile bridges
    D) orange trees in every yard

None of those things existed in my prior existence in a small forest town in Northern Canada. As an avid gardener (as avid as you can get with a 3 month growing season) I nearly had convulsions when I saw my first orange tree; palms sent the hairs up on the back of my neck; my first glimpse of a Bird of Paradise - faint!

The day my husband and I closed on our first house in San Jose I started to create a backyard orchard. My home improvement schedule went as follows: May: plant trees. June: trees. July: more trees....

It's now been nearly a year (and over a dozen trips to half a dozen garden stores) and my backyard orchard has 19 fruit trees. Alphabetically they range from Asian Pear to Pomegranate. Aesthetically, Pink Variegated Lemon to Mulberry. Seasonally, Valencia Orange to Persimmon. I pester garden store personnel and Ask Jeeves equally about root rot, nematodes, and zinc deficiency. But with each new sapling I plant the thought runs through my mind, "Back home it's minus 30 degrees and I'd never dream of planting a Kumquat in January!"

Those trees are my babies. Some of them even got named, such as Ruby, the Red Grapefruit and Mulan, the newest member - a Mandarin Orange. I even have one set of triplets: the miracle of grafting lets Red Delicious, Gala and Fuji apples all grow on one tree like a horticultural United Nations.

I know it will take several years for my miniature orchard to mature; to date I've picked less than 1 fruit per tree. I may even start taking my orchard for granted as time goes on. But I'll always cherish the elated memories of my first foray into California Gardenin' - becoming a backyard orchardist.

peach blossom Annette Truong, Web Developer

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Its nice to see that Ask Jeeves has some real people working over there. In the most recent entry at the Ask Jeeves blog named Confessions of a Backyard Orchardist a typical Web developer talks about her love for gardening.... [Read More]

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Comments

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