I recently read that in the South, late fall to winter is the best time to plant trees. This little fact got Wes and I seriously talking about what trees we want to add to our orchard this year. And while we are at it, how about some more berries, too?
Today the kiddos and I took a field trip to one of my favorite places in Fairview - GroWild. I love this place. I wish I could spend all day there and just follow the staff around, soaking up all their plant knowledge. They specialize in plants native to the Southeast, and they have a LOT of them out there. Here in our little valley, though, if we can't eat it we don't want to grow it, so we have only explored the edibles they offer (apples, pears, plums, nuts, berries, grapes...).
Last spring the whole family made the trip and came home with a trailer load of trees and bushes, enough to start a respectable orchard and berry patch, plus a pecan tree. This year we were a bit more modest, but we still managed to fill the truck bed. As of today, the orchard has 1 plum tree, 2 pear trees, 4 apple trees (1 new), and 2 old apple trees that were already on the property. Our berry patch has 8 blueberries (3 new), 6 blackberries (2 new), and 2 raspberries. We also bought 3 muscadine grapes and a serviceberry tree. The future site of the vineyard is the rocky slope that runs down from the orchard, and the serviceberry we will plant close to the house in hopes of getting a few berries before the birds eat them all.
I am already envisioning being up to my elbows in apple peels, being covered in blackberry juice, and Audrey eating all the blueberries off the bushes before I can pick them...