Earthkeeping – Orchard Gardens

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

Holy Cross Orchard Pruning Event Update – Feb 26

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Holy Cross Orchard Pruning and Learning Event – Feb. 26, 2011

All week long we had been watching the snow pile up as the temperatures went down in our area of Bellevue. Would we be able to have our outing on Saturday? Would the 30 trees get some grooming and pruning attention?

Late in the week a few e-mails passed about the advisability of pruning trees in near-zero temperature. When it was determined that the trees would be fine and that there would be no snow or rain the morning of Feb. 26, we decided to proceed.

At 9AM, two dozen hearty souls gathered INSIDE to drink coffee and learn about the principles and goals of pruning fruit trees, presented by Roger Ledbetter of the Seattle Tree Fruit Society. And then we went OUTSIDE into the orchard to remove those ancient “water sprouts” – which appeared more like “trees in trees.” We removed dead, damaged, diseased and crossed limbs. We worked for a couple hours and then came in for hearty stew, soup, chili and delicious bread and lively conversation.

Before we re-entered the orchard, Greg Giuliani (also from the Seattle Tree Fruit Society) provided an overview of the “mysteries of grafting” which he is very familiar with, a number of us slack-jawed as we listened to what sounded like a tall tale. Grafting is the way our orchard came to be and we have one pear tree with clearly two varieties on it. Now we understand that better!


We re-entered the orchard and began the afternoon effort that will continue in planned forays over the next couple years. At the end of the day, folks were enamored with this little orchard, felt proud of their efforts and had cultivated new friendships. “See you at harvest time!”

We’re so grateful for the folks who came out from such a wide variety of sources: Seattle Tree Fruit Society, Newport High School, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Molbak’s, Church of Steadfast Love (Compass Center), neighbor volunteers and our own Holy Cross P-Patchers and faith community.

Pssst! Spring is coming…really ;–)

Janet Farness




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