orchards

Welcoming Spring and Planting Season

Phyllis Lifestyle 13 Comments

The first day of spring should be a national holiday. In the South, we women are ready to put up the coats and bring forth the linen cloths in the brightest colors we can find. It marks the “new beginning” of another sleepy year that is waking up from winter. Now I confess I am a winter person so spring for me is the warning season that hot summer is soon approaching. Nevertheless, I love spring. My flowers are beginning to pop up from the ground, and I will be out in the garden soon.

When Neal and I first married, he had a ranch. We decided one spring that we would plant an orchard—yes, an orchard. I had visions of Del Monte and Dole just knocking my door down to get my secrets for magnificent fruit trees. We had apple, apricot, plum, and pear trees. The back to nature attitude was in my blood. We watered, fertilized, and pampered these trees for a whole growing season. We had one apple, but the pear tree put forth a wonderful show of little pears. I discarded the first year fruit so the trees could get established.

By the second spring, I was watching daily for those little tiny blooms and leaves to pop out just knowing the bumper crop was on the way. Again, we pruned, watered, watched, and even talked to those trees, just waiting on the harvest.

The pear tree was the star. It was the star of all the trees—41 pears! I was in heaven. As the months passed and the tree branches were bending under the weight of the pears, I knew harvest time was coming. I pulled out my favorite pear tart recipes, and I was ready.

My sister had come for a visit, and I wanted her to see the orchard, especially the pear tree. As we rounded the corner and the trees were in sight, I couldn’t find my tree. What had happened? Finally as we walked over, I could see the tree with barely any leaves left, much less a pear. My heart sank. Probably there was an overfed deer roaming somewhere and watching with a grin on its face. My tree was ruined.

Oh well, when the shock was over I remember thinking how much work goes into a harvest of fruit and how thankful we are for farmers who make growing fruit their life’s calling. Maybe I will try again sometime to grow pears, but for today I will cherish wonderful trips to the farmers’ markets and farms and thank the wonderful people who tend to the orchards every year. A big thank you from our family to the wonderful farmers who provide us with fruit and vegetables every year. May you have an abundant year as you celebrate spring and planting season.

What signifies Spring to you?

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Comments 13

  1. The first sign of spring for me is snowdrops peeping through the melting snow under my south facing window. A miraculous feat for this delicate flower! My parent’s garden was full of apple and plum trees when we moved there and we always had apples aplenty as my father stored them throughout the winter. The first thing he did every morning before taking tea to my mother was go into the garden and take deep breaths, relishing the oxygen fresh from the trees. The blossom in the spring was a delight to behold!

  2. Oh my goodness, Spring couldn’t come fast enough! My favorite thing about Spring is the opening of the farmer’s market and all that goodness. First asparagus, then strawberries… I can’t wait! Thanks for sharing this story! Kristy

  3. Spring is ever so slowly showing itself up here in Canada…the first sign is the chirping of the birds early in the morning just outside our bedroom…no need for an alarm clock. Then the snowdrops, daffodils and tulips appear. Your story about the fruit trees brings back memories of my childhood. We had a magnificent and most generous peach tree that would yield enough peaches to eat, can and make peach pies with year after year. Then one summer, our family returned from holiday to find our beauty bent over and broken. It was like a death and we mourned. My father planted plum and pear trees later on but nothing replaced that wonderful peach tree.

  4. A brilliant blue sky that goes on forever, temperatures and gentle breezes caressing your skin, and swaths of blazing of red tips! The pear tree we planted more than ten years ago has yet to produce edible fruit, but it’s lovely to look at and the birds nesting in its branches serenade us with sweet songs.

  5. We live now in Ponchatoula Louisiana, also known as the strawberry capital of the world. Spring means the best most flavorful strawberries you’ve ever had and the annual strawberry festival which brings over 100,000 people to a town of 6,500 residents. It’s fun, crazy, and a great fund raiser for all the local charities. The Future Farmers selling baskets of strawberry plants. The churches selling strawberry pies, shortcakes, and jellies. As a former city girl, I love this life!

  6. Pussywillows and daffodils are the first sign of spring for me. That and of course, the first brave little robins who venture north for the spring and summer. I say brave, as we had a foot of snow over night on Sunday. The beauty of a March snow storm is that the sun is warm and snow melts quickly. Spring is a time of renewal; the earth waking, trees blooming, birds nesting and of course, the promisr of Easter. Who wouldn’t love spring!

    Leslie

  7. Daffodils and Iris blooming, rainy days and nights for a week; followed by sunny, breezy days perfect for hanging laundry on the clothesline. This is spring.

  8. You poor thing, but what a blessing to have had the tree for as long as you did! Spring in the South is truly unsurpassed by any other part of the country New England has the fall foliage but we Southerner’s have the spring. I love it! Once again, thank you for sharing your wonderful stories.

  9. When Spring really gets here, you will see beautiful dogwood trees blooming and semi-hidden amongst the yaupons and sweet gums in East Texas. That is when you really know it is time to plant your garden without any fear that there will be another bad freeze. It makes me want to ditch work and head to the nearest nursery. I love Spring!!!! Yesterday, I noticed new leaves on my fig trees. I am soooo excited. Figs and pears, can life get any better.

  10. Tears and smiles came to mind regarding your fruit tree adventures. I too have planted many fruit trees over the years. I have some great Fuji apple trees that always seem to fulfill my horses’ healthy sweet tooth! I also have an apricot tree that produces more than I can pick. But… I have many failures on my dirt covered hands. Pears and cherries continue to fail even though our area has orchards of them everywhere. God bless the farmers that make it happen. Really lucky to live in California where you can almost just stick it in the ground and watch it grow. Welcome Spring!

  11. Violets on misty, almost foggy early mornings in the Deep South signify the beginning of spring to me. Alas, in the dryer Eastern Washington state, a misty moisty morning is rare, and the violets too shy until April, at least. Here. tulips poking up through brown bracken and fuzzy buds on the saucer magnolia trees indicate spring is on its way. Today, near the end of chilly March, large purple tulip-shaped saucers cover my magnolia, and the grass is turning green after a rain shower last night.

  12. Love this story. 🙂 Some years back, my husband planted what was tagged as an apple tree which turned out to be a pear tree in our back yard. It had the biggest pears on it that I had ever seen. They made wonderful pear preserves for several years. Then an extremely strong (almost tornado) broke my tree down. So, I, too, am thankful for the farmers who grow all these fruits for us to use.

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