A friend of mine shared this image with me today. I'll be honest with you, I have seen ads in seed catalogs that advertised grafted fruit trees that produce several types of fruit on the same tree, but I never really took them too seriously. I figured it was a gimmick to make quick sales. I assumed that the trees either would not produce well, or would produce inferior fruit. I'm beginning to rethink that.
This tree, referred to as the Tree of 40 Fruit is the brainchild of Sam Van Aken, a professor from Syracuse University. In an attempt to save heirloom stone fruit, Van Aken grafted over 40 different stone fruits to one rootstock to create a tree that produces over 40 fruits, such as plums, peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines and even includes almonds. According to Van Aken the tree produces fruit throughout the summer with manageable amounts of each fruit.
Van Aken grafted the growing tips (scions) of fruit trees to the original root system (rootstock) using chip grafting. The rootstock is approximately two years old and takes another two to four years to produce the first fruit.
Chip grafting involves cutting a wedge shaped section in the rootstock and removing the wood. An identical cut is made on the scion just below a bud so that the end of the scion fits perfectly into the cut out wedge in the rootstock. The scion is positioned in place, matching the cambium layers and taped. The tree is allowed to rest over the winter. In the spring, the wood from the rootstock above the graft is cut away to allow the grafted scion to flourish and produce new growth.
If you are interested in trying your hand at grafting your own trees, check out these Easy Grafting Techniques. I know I will be giving it some serious thought this year!
Until next time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
I got a surprise this week when I opened my curtains to look at my bird feeder. I had been watching goldfinches, nuthatches, chick-a-dees and little red squirrels feed for days. What a shock to open the window and discover a HUGE grey squirrel hanging upside down on the feeder!
I've lived in this house for 6 years and it is the first time I have seen grey squirrels here. Are far as I can tell, I only have one and he comes back regularly to feed. Fortunately, he can't raid the my fly thru feeder and spends most of his time cleaning up stray seeds on the ground. Of course, I would be lying if I said I didn't throw a few extra seeds around just for him.
I'm not sure why, but here in Maine grey squirrels are typically seen in more populated areas and aren't that common in rural areas. Perhaps they choose to remain in the woods when it is available, but to be honest, I've never seen one in the woods.
Other than trying to force my poinsettias into bloom for Christmas, I've been a little behind the game this HOLIDAY SEASON. As usual, the days between Thanksgiving and CHRISTMAS go way too quickly. Before I know it, Christmas is nearly upon me and I rush around finishing up my Christmas decor.
I finished my big wreath for the front of the house today. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but this wreath is nearly 36 inches wide and cost a total of $5 - $6 to make. The decorations are all dollar store finds along with some natural cones and balsam fir from my backyard.
I like to try something new each year. One year I made one with gorgeous coral-peach roses and lace. Another year, I went with blues and whites. My intention with this wreath was to go with red and white by adding delicate silk baby's breath with the roses, but when I couldn't find any baby's breath I decided to go with silver and red instead. I am pleased with the final result.
Although I no longer traipse through the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree - I visit the tree farm instead and let the nice man cut it and haul it for me - I do still enjoy picking the boughs and making my own wreath. I guess making my own wreath is as close to gardening as I can get in the midst of winter.
Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a MERRY CHRISTMAS.
Until next time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
For more nature photography, check out my photography site.