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Creek Running North

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May 24, 2005

Out in the backyard

Hard to believe I planted this tree only two years ago. Perhaps it was two years and six months. It's taller than I am now, and we've eaten a few dozen cherries from it already. I'm stunned the squirrels haven't found them yet.

The ants have, and they're farming aphids on the newer leaves. I'll have to do a little pruning and buy some tanglefoot. The infested leaves are curled and crinkled, and thus the tree's growth is stunted ever so slightly. This isn't a problem. It's a small yard, and there's an Asian pear tree less than five feet away - itself laden with fruit that will be ready to eat in a month and a half. A little stunting works in our favor. Still, there is gardener's valor to be considered. My charges must be protected, within reason.

The cherry is a self-fertile Bing. The fruit are delicious. We stood in the yard Saturday and ate each ripe one we found, sun warmed, some of them splitting from the rain last week. Ah, the riches of photosynthesis. Ah, the benefits of plant coevolution with seed dispersers. Ah, cherry juice on the back of the throat.

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I have a Montmorency (sour) cherry tree in my yard that I also planted two years ago. To my amazement, it set fruit last year, lots of fruit. To my dismay, the birds got every last cherry!

Not this year! I have netting and I'm not afraid to use it.

Posted by: alice at May 25, 2005 07:31 AM
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Just a quick visit this time, Chris (and yes, I am reading that essay for you), but I had to appreciate cherries with you! I still think that cherries are not truly cherries unless you sit in the branches of a cherry tree, her emerald leaves wrapped gently around your body, while you (and the ants) eat her sweet sun-kissed fruits.

Welcome back.

Posted by: GrrlScientist at May 25, 2005 01:05 PM
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Yum! Maybe I'll just come over there and PAINT some of those luscious cherries--with or without permission. You canNOT spoil my fun!

Posted by: Doc Rock at May 25, 2005 01:21 PM
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Remember the huge old cherry tree in Grandma Clarke's back yard at the old house? I was sad when they cut it down. I remember cherry pie from that tree.

Posted by: Craig at May 25, 2005 09:07 PM
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You want cherries? I'll give you cherries!

Posted by: KathyF at May 26, 2005 01:21 AM
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Netting, yes. Of course, the problem with netting is that some fool bird will manage to get tangled in it. Perhaps that improves the population. I'm softhearted, though, and couldn't bear to kill a bird. So, no netting for me.

Without netting, your first year of cherries may be your last. We had cherries the first year. Subsequent years, the birds watched the tree and got those cherries the exact moment they acheived perfect ripeness. They circled it it what I'm sure they thought was a most unobtrusive manner: alight on the fence nearby, then over to the oak tree, then a quick visit to the feeder, then the telephone wire... all spots with good views of the cherry tree. It was a bird competition to see who'd get the cherries. We humans were disqualified in the first round.

Posted by: Karen at May 26, 2005 10:43 AM
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Unfortunately for the cherry-loving birds, for better or worse, we do find ourselves the beneficiaries of a volunteer security guard.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at May 26, 2005 10:50 AM
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Well, I didn't even get the first year's worth of cherries. Birds got every single one.

There's lots of fruit setting on the tree this year, so we'll see. I hadn't thought of the bird entanglement issue. I just want some sour cherries!

Posted by: alice at May 27, 2005 05:28 PM
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