Everyday now it is a little greener, all the different shades of green on the hillsides and fields, the lushness of Spring. At home we’re just about to let the sheep and their new lambs out on pasture with the just hatched goslings waddling in between.
I’m almost finished planting new trees, more quince, Elephant Heart and Ume plums, St. Cecillia, Reinette Clochard, Pomme Gris, Irish Peach and Blehiem Orange apples. I’ve grafted more Opalescent and added James Grieve apples. The beekeepers, Jodi and Dean Turner have brought the first hives into the orchard just as the plums and peaches reach full bloom; apricots have already bloomed, the last petals still attracting bees. The apples are trembling on the edge of bloom with Hewes Virginia and Duchess of Oldenburg, Astrakan and Roxbury Russet leading the way. The bees will work in a frenzy from now until close to the end of May when the Northern Spy, Kingston Blacks, D’Arcy Spice apples, the quince and medlars bloom. This season we’ll have a snowball bloom, the trees will be completely covered in blossoms, the air will be saturated with their fragrance and the bees intoxicated with the abundance of nectar. When you walk into the orchard on a warm afternoon during bloom you’ll hear buzzing all around as the bees, both honey bees and our wild bees race from blossom to blossom. The air will be thick with bees; they are so intent on their work they often crash into me as I’m walking – no one’s hurt, they pick themselves up and head back to the hive or the blossoms. Everyone’s in good spirits during the bloom.
Just as the bloom winds down and white and pink petals cover the ground like confetti, as I walk I keep one eye on the trees and the new fruit and the other on the ground under the trees. I’m looking for morel mushrooms! It’s a wonderful time to be in the orchard.