Some of our fruit tree experiments have been wildly successful, and some less so. The peaches were too susceptible to curl, and I eventually gave up on them. The cherries are a definite win. The plums… I haven’t quite decided. But last year, after having given up on peaches, I decided to give up on the apricots as well. They kept wanting to outgrow the space, they didn’t seem to like being espaliered into the shape I’d intended, and most importantly I hadn’t seen any fruit.
Being pregnant and then with a newborn, I promptly did nothing about it — except to ignore the trees. Pruning would be a waste, because I fully intended to remove the trees anyway. And there they remained, growing larger and less espaliered, but still slated for destruction, until early this spring, when I noticed that one of them was bearing fruit. Not just a little fruit, either — big clusters of rapidly growing, hard green apricots.
I couldn’t possibly take out the trees now. I had to at least find out if they would really bear.
Answer: yes. Perhaps it’s the not-pruning technique, perhaps the tree just matured, perhaps it heard my murderous thoughts and set fruit in sheer desperation. But the other day Mica and I went out to check the fruit and were able to eat the first golden apricot from our own tree.
For a while I pretended to debate on what to do. After all, the tree was producing fruit, but only now that it was a great gangly thing, highly unlike the neat little espalier I’d intended. Was it worth it? Then I looked around my garden, admitted to myself that “neat” is something that only happens sporadically, and went with the obvious decision. Of course it can stay. It produced apricots.