These were my thoughts, several weeks back now, as I set the last of this year’s additions in the orchard. Our growing spaces are divided into three main sections. There is the kitchen garden out back, a flower garden in progress in front of the house and further up, out by the road, the orchard. Or at least what I’ve insisted on calling the orchard since before we moved in. Even when the little field’s most prominent feature was a telephone pole. And really not a whole lot has changed. The few little twiggy things sticking up are still dwarfed by that pole and it will never be big enough to be what most people would consider an orchard, but setting that last plant in the ground, all felt right with the world.
They say the best time to put fruit trees in the ground is ten years ago. The next best time is right now. ‘Tis true and we did both. The first four trees to go in the ground here are the ones to replace the trees that we planted at the old house for each of our children, with one extra, for the extra little person that never got her tree. Which also means that for the first time in nearly three and a half years, there is no longer a placenta in my freezer.
Two cherry trees and two peach trees. I’ve been playing it kind of fast and loose with both the definition “orchard” and the types of fruits planted there. Along the side closest to the house there are rows of furrows planted out with 103 strawberry plants. In the back I have a row of little snippets that I hope one day will be a lilac hedge. Along the driveway there will be a high-bush blueberry hedge, currently seven little plants that I believe will fill in rapidly. The first three in the row belonging to Little Rosebud and Goosey, who pooled their birthday money to buy them (completely and totally their own idea). And the fourth side is bordered by the forest.
“It was a vision to develop slowly into fulfillment. Grandfather King was in no hurry. He did not set his whole orchard out at once, for he wished it to grow with his life and history, and be bound up with all of good and joy that should come to his household. So the morning after he had brought his young wife home they went together to the south meadow and planted their bridal trees. These trees were no longer living; but they had been when father was a boy, and every spring bedecked themselves in blossom as delicately tinted as Elizabeth King’s face when she walked through the old south meadow in the morn of her life and love.
When a son was born to Abraham and Elizabeth a tree was planted in the orchard for him. They had fourteen children in all, and each child had it’s ‘birth tree’. Every family festival was commemorated in like fashion, and every beloved visitor who spent a night under their roof was expected to plant a tree in the orchard. So it came to pass that every tree in it was a fair green monument to some love or delight of the vanished years. And each grandchild had its tree, there, also, set out by grandfather when the tidings of it’s birth reached him; not always an apple tree-perhaps it was a plum, or cherry or pear.”
~except from “The Story Girl” by L.M. Montgomery
Yes, just right. Next year Steve and I will set out some trees to commemorate 15 years of togetherness. And each child that joins our dear little family shall have his or her tree as well. With trees or bushes set out for other milestones, ones that I can’t even fathom and one that I can only dream of right now. Fancy thinking of planting trees for grandchildren, while all my own little ones are still here at home with me! Well, I guess I have time to make space for them anyhow.