Tree Planting Season

I feel unusually organised. Not because I’ve finished unpacking (heck no!), but because I’ve just placed my order for the fruit trees we will plant over winter.


The gift of trees from kind friends.

The voucher was given to me about this time last year by my lovely workmates (now ex-workmates, but still dear friends). At the time we were still a couple of months away from moving to the farmlet, and when we did get here in mid-July it seemed precipitous to jump into ordering extra trees before we discovered what was already on-site. I’m happy that we waited, there are a lot of fruit trees here, some of which we only identified once they fruited (two that we originally thought were apples turned out to be pears).

Some have to go though. Previous farmlet occupants used some interesting and unorthodox methods to maim tame the orchard occupants. You probably remember the masses-of-baling-twine restraint method used on poor Whomping Plum. There is also evidence of a novel pruning technique involving something akin to  a buzz cut on the front and back of a tree using a chainsaw. Perhaps it was intended as a budget version of the espalier (minus the wall or any attention to branch placement). Sadly trees subjected to this form of butchery (the poor Whomping Plum, again, and the apple) look unlikely to recover.

Tortured apple tree

Tortured apple tree (centre, in case you were in any doubt).

Then there was the strange choice of a planting site right beside the bedroom verandah for this poor fig. Fig trees grow to 20-30 feet high and at least as wide. Were people hoping to pick figs from their bed? Have props handy for impromptu Old Testament re-enactments? Anyway, either it goes, or we adjust to tree house living as the foundations rise. I suspect that won’t be as much fun as it sounds.


So much fig, so little space.

It isn’t easy deciding on trees to plant. Choosing a tree is like choosing a life partner. You are going to be living with them, looking after them, appreciating them and training them (Oh come on, admit it. You either train the life partner, or you try your best to train them, fail, then blame them for it) for a long time. What if you choose the wrong one? The not so crunchy apple, the less juicy lime, the not so Forbearing Husband? It’s tricky all right!

So I looked at the catalogue (No, no, no! This is where that ‘life partner’ metaphor* ends). I searched the internet. I rolled dice. And the winners were:

  • A Tahitian Lime. Our existing lime has citrus borer. We hope it won’t succumb, but we’re planning for a back-up just in case. I need limes to barter for Chardonnay.
  • A Captain Kidd Apple, to replace the poor tortured apple. I think / hope this is the variety the Gentleman Farmer from Paparoa used to grow.
  • A Golden Special Grapefruit from which Deborah may be persuaded to make marmalade.

Fruit tree ETA is early July. Now we just need to decide where to plant, and prepare a nice welcoming pile of horse poo.

* For the pedants amongst you — you’re right, that is a simile, not a metaphor. Popular usage and all that though.

[I have put a complete list of the farmlet tree crops over here. Feel free to skip reading it. It’s mostly for my own reference. I think I have listed everything. I know it seems weird not to be sure, but this is a large property. It’s entirely possible I may have missed a stray mandarin tree tucked away in a corner somewhere].




  1. Always happy to make marmalade, although having just watched That Sugar Film, I may never eat it again. At least not until the memory fades. In the meantime we’ll barter it for extra chardonnay, shall we? I haven’t tried Golden Special before, they sound like nice eating grapefruit. A meyer lemon is a must for me. And an avocado, cause we can. And a persimmon, or do we have a stunted one already by the chicken house? I forget….so many trees….

  2. I see you have meyer on your list. Which ones are those? The one by the kragbol residence could be one, although it suffers sadly from a skin disease..

    • Yes, one sad persimmon by the chicken house. I think both the lemon between the olive tree and the feijoas, and the Kragbol house lemon are meyers, at least they look like the right shape and size. The one over by the blueberry looks like a lisbon.

  3. Yes, I think you’re right about the lisbon. I second the idea of a chocolate tree. Hope Whittakers is on to it.

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