The benevolent, cool spring without harsh freezes has given us cute "baby" peaches. Adorned in their thick coat of peach fuzz, it won't be long until some of them are ready for picking and for us to slurp down. We all missed fresh peaches last year because the Easter Freeze killed the tiny fruit, but luckily not the trees.
The first peaches in the Heartland Harvest Garden's (HHG) "Peach Orchard" were planted last week. The peach orchard is located on a brick spiral walk that imitates the "yellow brick road" from the Wizard of Oz. You can see the brick is not yellow but a rosy color to play off all the blooming fruit trees in spring. The first peaches to go in are the mini or patio peaches. Here Matt Bunch, Horticulturist - HHG, does some measuring with his spade for the new tree. Barbara Fetchenhier, Gardener - HHG, is ready to dig the hole to the proper size, which just fits in the inner spiral. Barbara grew all the peaches for the past couple seasons in grow bags in our nursery. Powell Gardens' Director Eric Tschanz stops by for a look at the progress.
The first peach ('Stark Sensation') is in place and Barbara begins to fill the soil back around the tree's root ball. The mini/patio peaches fit nicely into the tight space at the center of the spiral. The planting beds get larger as the brick walk spirals outward; likewise, the peach varieties get larger and larger from dwarf to standard sizes on the outer ring. There will be about 30 cultivars of peaches in the completed spiral, some cultivars duplicated in both dwarf and standard size. We selected only the hardier cultivars with ripening times from late June through September! On your visit to the Heartland Harvest Garden next year, you will likely be able to sample various peaches during that time.
Here is the layout of the other mini peaches on the inner ring. Powell Gardens' maintenance staff puts finishing touches on the garden infrastructure while Matt and Barbara install the plants as beds are completed. The trees in our nursery were grown in grow bags and this has allowed for successful transplanting this late and will allow us to continue planting through the season. After a rain delay, more peaches are going in today! If the rain holds off, the peach orchard "spiral" will be completely planted.
Well, actually the companion plants won't go in until fall and next spring. The brick walk is quite a walk if you follow the whole experience from beginning to end. You will see apples at its start, pears in the middle and peaches at this end of the spiral.