Spring weather entices us outdoors, and our thoughts turn to delectable fruits that will soon be ripe. Many of the spring fruits that we see in grocery stores are shipped from Central or South America, definitely not a green option! Those same spring fruits grow well in many home gardens. Homegrown fruits are healthier, tastier, and they have a fraction of the carbon footprint.
Bing cherries were once grown throughout the Santa Clara Valley. However, the valley has warmed, and only lower chill cherry varieties now produce fruit in the same locations. Lapins and Stella cherries require less chill, and they rival Bing in flavor. Royal Rainier is a lower chill yellow cherry that is as scrumptious as Royal Ann.
Cherry trees are gorgeous in blossom, and the tree is attractive year round. However, cherry trees do not like wet feet, so they are not suited to lawns. Gardeners with heavy soil can select rootstocks that are more tolerant of wet conditions.
Apricots are Andy Mariani’s favorite spring fruit. Apricot trees are forgiving and tolerate a wider range of growing conditions than cherry trees. My favorite “apricot tree” is actually an aprium, an apricot-plum hybrid. Garden Delight®has pink blossoms, and it produces juicy apricot-like fruits early in the season.
Blueberry bushes are attractive landscaping shrubs for an area with morning sun and afternoon shade. The southern highbush varieties, Sunshine Blue and Misty, do well in much of California. About 3-4 feet tall, they are evergreen and have gorgeous fall foliage. Misty is clothed in bright pink flowers in March. Berries ripen late spring and through summer.
Pakistan mulberry trees produce 3-inch long fruits beginning in May and continuing through summer. The flavor is amazingly sweet and complex for an early season fruit. Pakistan is a vigorous tree that is best planted away from paved areas, where dropping fruit would be messy. Black Beauty is a semi-dwarf mulberry tree or shrub with better manners and later fruit.
Mulberry trees on the west side of the house will form a dense canopy and provide welcome shade in hot months. Strategically placed mulberry trees provide food for both birds and humans, and they will cool the house in the hottest part of the year.
Photo from Wiki Commons.