God bless America!
I think it's a good thing that people have an opportunity to make stupid
choices, don't you? Otherwise life would be kind of boring. Especially
in the suburbs.
BTW, I like the pear tree that came up from a seed at my parent's house
10 or so years ago. It's about 30 feet tall (pears grow straight up like
a poplar if they get a chance) and it's way too close to the garage. It
is disease free and has hard little pears a little bigger than a walnut,
and thorns like a honeylocust. It has a lot of character. :-) I think
the pears would make good pickles.
I guess I'll never be able to sell this house with it's 23 fruit
bearing trees and schrubs I've planted around it. I paid a hundred and
fifty grand for it 10 years ago and did have to remove an ash tree
<planted to close to a wall lifting it up>, an old plum that died of
heart rot, a peach that had termites, a lemon tree that was in bad
shape, oleander < don't like oleander>, 6 Hollywood Junipers, and 4
Italian Cypress. These had all died or had become heavily drought
stressed because they hadn't been watered in 6 months. The house was a
The lemon I took out came back as a sucker from one of the roots I
missed. It's about 5 feet tall now and puts out some nice lemons.
Yup, I just left that sucker grow just to see what it would do.
I sometimes wonder if that lemon tree started from some child of one
of the previous owners sticking a seed in the ground.
The real estate agents that come up and knock on my door every week
must be pulling my leg. They insist they can get $500,000 or more for
my house if I'll let them carry the listing. Those real estate agents
must be real kidders, going around door to door and ribbing people like
God Bless the USA.
Sure, I think it good that people have the opportunity to fail. Still, I am
grateful when I pick up a plant at the nursery and have a trusted staff
person tell me that the plant is likely to be inferior or become invasive.
If they engage me in WHY I am buying the plant and help me sort out what
would fulfill my needs, I see it as a service. I could go to Wal-Mart and
take my chances. There are so many opportunities to make mistakes that when
someone gives me advice that helps avoid failure, I see it as a benefit. I
still might go with my first decision, but it will be an informed one.
One example of how stupid mistakes makes life more boring in the suburbs
occurred in my neighborhood. The developer put in a large number of
Bradford Pears and planted many trees far too close to the houses. The
pears are all breaking in strong winds and the trees planted too close to
the houses are being removed. Now the lots are being transformed into
really boring landscapes. Some people don't believe in stump removal, so
not only is there are loss of trees, but now stumps dot small lawns. Had
someone stopped the person choosing the plant material and discussed
alternatives to the Bradford pears and suggested that planting a tree three
feet from the foundation is not a good idea, I think things would be less
boring. Of course, reasonable people will disagree.
Wait a minute. This guy is going to put lots of labor into caring for this
tree, and 5 or
more years down the road, he is going to wind up with a junky apple, unless of
course you believe in
miracles, but that's not where I would put my money or time.
If he really wants a good tasting apple, let him shell out 15 or 20 bucks and buy
something decent. I'm not going to even mention grafting, as I think he has not
reached that point
of involvement in growing apples.
How admirable! This garden forum is now recommending people to grow 'duds'.
Maybe we can recommend that our local Botanic Garden or Extension Centers give
courses on how to grow 'duds'?
Janet Baraclough wrote:
No, it's recommending that gardening is an area where producing the
perfect result is not the sole, or even the most important purpose. What
matters is for a child who has eaten an apple and sprouted its pip, to
feel the magical connection to the earth and his part in the cycle of
growing things. For a child to learn that the simplest personal
involvement is more satisfying than any item or experience made by
someone else or bought from a shop. For him to learn that it's good to
experiment and explore, that often, what is most worthwhile and
entertaining is not uniform, not predictable, and far from perfect.
A neighbour of ours was an old man who has lived in his childhood
home all his life. As a boy he grew an apple pip which is now a large
espalier against the gable end of the house. It's beautiful in blossom,
it's his creation and part of his history and memories. Those are far
more important than the very trivial fact that he doesn't like the
fruit. Birds do, and their annual feasting probably gives him more joy
and delight than any apple he's ever tasted.
The message you are not giving this little boy is that there is better fruit
what he can find in the supermarkets. He will have no motivation to get into
gardening with the
memory of that awful apple he bit into.
Janet Baraclough wrote:
I am not trying to be a 'smart alec' or a 'mister know it all', but this
father does have
other easy choices. He can plant a stone fruit seed, which has a much better
of coming out with decent tasting fruit. He can plant a raspberry shoot from
one of his
neighbor's bush. Giving the kid the false hope that he will get a tasty apple
after nurturing his
tree for many years will most likely disappoint him.
By the way, I am not clairvoyant about how these apples will turn out. Just
orchardist in the business if it is profitable to plant apples seeds. These
people do look
for new apples (sometimes called 'sports'), but they do it scientifically,
varieties, and they do get a very low success ratio. Occasionally an amateur
will 'stumble' on a
chance mutation, but this rarely happens. There is little doubt that it
is possible to grow an apple from a seed, but unlike vegetables, the result is
than what is expected.
You seem to be a person that likes longshots. Just pick the most unlikely
winner you can think of, and maybe you will strike it rich. Don't forget to
share some of your winnings with me, for my free advice.
Now see, you can say there is a high probability that the fruit will
be worthless. What you can't say is that there is a 100% certainty of
There's also a good chance that the seeding wouldn't survive the first
See, you just said it happens. Yes rarely, but it does happen.
Maybe, maybe not. Do you think that maybe, by the time the tree is old
enough to bear fruit, that the child will have grown enough to
understand that it was a slim possibility that the fruit would be
worthwhile in the end? And that the lesson to be learned is that
without trying, you'll never know for sure?
Besides the name for a fruit tree that puts out crappy or no fruit is
Why don't you tell the kid to stand in front of a speeding car, so he can
learn what it means to be runned over. He may survive the experience, but
without trying, you'll never know for sure.
There are specific cultivars of trees like a flowering pear that fall under
classification of an ornamental tree, or one that never produces ANY fruit.
As far as I know, there is no official name for a tree that puts out bad
or a fruit tree that fails to produce any fruit.
Ornamental trees that produce fruit: Mexican Fan Palm, California Fan
Palm, Ginko Balboa, California Pepper Tree, Buckeyes, etc., etc.
Above varies from barely palatable, unpalatable, to poisonous, to no
fruit < male Ginko Balboa >.
See above, you were wrong to begin with, you're wrong now.
You may have the last word, if you feel the need. I'm done with this
He just needs to set the kid's expectations for a nice big tree that
will bear yucky apples eventually. The entire top of the tree can be
replaced later by grafting/budding the scaffold branches later if they
If he "wins the lottery" he might get a good apple and he can name it.
If the fruit is small and sour, it might make good jelly, pickles,
The tree is unlikely to survive the first year anyway, why not give it a
If he has room for it, he can also plant a good semi-dwarf grafted tree
and it will bear in about 3 years.
Why bother? If he wants to graft something, he can buy a rootstock
and get several years headstart on getting his first apples.
Now the kid has to learn all about canning and baking.
If he takes care of it, the tree has a good chance of surviving the first
That's why people take the trouble to plant stone fruits from seed. From
a plant standpoint, this seed is very capable of reproducing another tree.
On 9/25/05 1:45 AM, in article email@example.com, "sherwindu"
Have you ever done anything for the sheer joy and adventure of it? Or is
your life that regimented?
That pip is a gamble - it might produce good fruit, nice spring fragrance,
or better yet an adult that loves gardening.
My grandfather was just slightly better off than the average subsistence
farmer, but he encouraged me to plant a few pips along the way.
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