Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blenheim/Royal Apricot

Before I begin with more information on fruit trees, I'd like to explain a bit more on what I'm doing right now with these posts over the past week.  I've been writing on these fruit trees because people in Tucson are now in the "season" of fruit tree hunting.  We type in things like "Blenheim Apricot in Tucson" and nothing really personal or informative comes up.  As part of my docent training, I am trying to help guide people into the hours of research and experience I have collected with these trees so that they will feel successful in their own gardens here.  I'm sorry about the break with personal stories and efforts around the garden, but I realized over the course of the year that I haven't been writing about my plant purchases and how they're progressing on the property. For the most part, I have a green thumb, but like any gardener, there are plants that have totally failed with me.  A write on this will happen after the Fruit Trees for Tucson series is over.  I am not a scientist who studies the microchemical balances of a leaf....just a gardener who knows what works and what doesn't. The only things I can get technical about are language structures, linguistics,and that kind of thing which of course relate to all things Spanish:)  Right now I am trying to help out my fellow city people who are preparing their gardens for this upcoming summer because it's what we love!

Following up now with another powerhouse of a fruit tree in Tucson....the Blenheim Apricot.  Apricots do extremely well in our climate and again require a certain amount of water. I purchased two ultra-dwarf apricot trees to keep the scale of the trees from getting too large....and also creating that layered tree canopy effect on the property.  However, the words "ultra-dwarf" may be a misnomer as these trees are wonderfully tall.  I'm tall and they are taller than I am!!  They are about 7 feet in height and are paired together as guardians to the palm tree garden.  They, I feel, will get taller.  Like the peach trees, I have fallen in love with them and treat them as sacred entities on the grounds.  The leaves are beautiful and the trees themselves are beautiful......while we haven't had fruit in the first year here, I believe that this year they will produce something special as the buds are beginning to get larger.  They took the full summer heat and sun extremely well. When the wind blows thru the leaves, these trees remind me of the Arizona Cottonwood tree.  I give this tree a 9 out of 10 for beginning gardeners as they will need to water this tree and it is for the same reason as the Red Baron Peach tree. It's not xeric, but the tree is special for the fruit alone and if you are wanting an edible landscape, you should definitely consider this tree as an option. The maximum range is listed as zone 9.  Now for the cold facts.....
  1. Fertilize in spring.
  2. Prune while dormant
  3. Cold hardy to 0 and negative 10 degrees
  4. Chill hours 400-500
  5. Common tree around town, but not commonly seen on side streets.  These trees are considered "special" by the locals and  many gardeners don't want random people picking fruit off their trees yet interestingly enough people don't mind others, as a general rule, picking grapefruit or some varieties of oranges from the overhang of trees off their property walls.  The rule is always to ask first before picking anyone's fruit.  Remember here in Arizona, anyone..and I mean ANYONE...has a right to carry a gun.  It's a bit scary and we all saw nationally what happened in the recent tragedy.  If you're visiting, most of the locals are pretty nice people but because this is a transitional state, it's best to speak with the owners first.  I'm from Wisconsin originally and for the most part, people are genuine and nice.  However, Arizona is a mix of people and the state can be a bit of a culture shock for people, like me in the beginning, who grew up in the midwest or small towns. I find that there are more "crazies" than the national must be our hot sun:)  I do love the weather and the ability to garden all year round.  The sunshine makes me smile.  Arizona is a great place to visit, but our recent national attention, SB1070, Jan Brewer, border violence and the drug wars, and Congresswoman Giffords and the killings, make us look like a dangerous place to visit.  You might then understand why people may be a little "standoffish" at first, but there are a lot of great people's just about who you associate with.....end of that deep thought:)
And speaking of headlines, prepare yourself for the Middle East in my next posting on the culture and rules for this controversial fruit tree in Tucson......stay tuned for more on the Fruit Trees for Tucson series!

1 comment:

  1. While none of my gardening experience has been in a climate anything like the one you have in Tucson, I do enjoy these tree posts. This one makes me wish apricots could be reliably grown in the Midwest or the Northeast...And on a slightly different notes, the two times I have been in Arizona so far I have experienced the state as nothing but welcoming and beautiful... :)


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