Flicker’s Lair Blog

See the wood for the trees!

by Heidi on November 11th, 2010
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Last week we squeezed in a trip to Montreal to pick up our latest order from the Green Barn Nursery.

The majority of this order was nut trees with a combination of Heartnuts and Black walnuts. Heartnuts are a variety of walnut that are fast-growing, hardy and beautiful with pendulous catkins, huge fern-like leaves and hanging clusters of nuts. A tree can bear nuts in 2-6 years and the result is a very tasty and easy to open nut. Black walnuts are not only valuable for the nuts they provide, but also for lumber.

New nut orchard

And of course with our eventual, hopeful goal of self sufficiency we are always looking to plant more fruit trees and bushes; this time we got apples, chums, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and a seedless grape.

I like to have a variety of different apples, and while I would quite like one of each of the varieties they do, this time I settled for:
Olympic – “Large red apples. Aromatic crunchy flesh stays firm even when stored for 8 months.”
Purple passion – “Large purple apple with exotic red flesh/red juice. Makes great pies, sauce or juice.”
Shamrock – “Large green “Granny Smith type” apple with crunchy firm flesh. Sweet-tangy flavour.”
Wolf river – “Tasty heritage apple. Huge size and dry flesh makes great pies or baked apples. Stores well.”

Chums, in case like me you hadn’t heard of them before, are “a mix of cherry and plum, combining the best characteristics of both. Fruit are the shape of a cherry but larger like a plum, varying in colour from red to dark purple. Chums are very cold resistant (zone 2), late blooming, dwarfed(2m), resist disease, can take sandy poor soil, withstand drought and usually bear fruit one year after planting. The fragrant flowers and later the fruit literally cover the weeping branches.”

And then a few more unusual additions ….

Cork tree – “All parts of the tree have value; bark used for corks, flowers are a good nectar source for bees, oil from fruit is used as a natural insecticide, leaves contain medicinal substances and the roots fix nitrogen.”

Coffee berry – “This indigenous tree is named for its dark brown beans which can be dried, roasted and then ground into a healthy coffee substitute. It fertilizes your soil and the tree pods are used medicinally.”

Silver Absinthe – “Both the scented leaves and flowers have a wide range of uses; salads, potpourris, dried flowers, repelling moths, attracting wildlife/bees, flavouring vermouth and medicinally for stimulating appetite, aiding digestion, expelling worms.”

Seaberry – “Dense shrub with beautiful silver leaves and thousands of bright orange berries that literally cover the branches. These berries have a tart pineapple-like taste and are used in Europe to make health tonics, fruit syrups, jams and even orange oil from the seeds. Seaberries contain very high levels of anti-oxidants, much higher than any other berry including blueberries. Natural bear fence for northern orchards. Berries hold on branches all winter. Thicket birds love them. Ideal for rugged country hedge.”

I am using the seaberry to defend my vegetable garden from my sheep! If you think this is excessive, you haven’t met a determined Shetland sheep!

Let me tell you that is a LOT of trees to plant! Although as they are all pretty much dormant it does look like we have been planting sticks!

And did anyone ever really think I could go to the Green Barn Nursery and not add to my citrus collection? Well of course I couldn’t and added a Valencia orange to the ever expanding forest in my office!

Isn’t this disclaimer thing dull! But no I haven’t received anything for writing nice things about the Green Barn Nursery. I just happen to think they are awesome and checking out their catalogue is akin to a kid visiting a candy store!

I love to know what you think so please rate my post or leave me a comment. If you really liked this post maybe you would consider sharing it. Thank you.

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  1. Black walnut husks are also excellent natural dyes yielding some wonderful deep browns. And Wolf River are my absolute favourite apples for apple butter, pies and apple sauce. Plus anytime you need to prune any of the trees you have dye material too! Good choices!

    Comment by Chriss — November 12, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

  2. I love hearing about new plant food — chums are new to me (I’m glad it doesn’t have to do with fish). I’m envious of all the room you must have for such an amazing orchard!

    Comment by Eliza — November 12, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

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