I just spent a day with a whole team of people putting in a mini-orchard and weeding at St. Brendan’s Parish. We put in several fruits that are hardy in our northern climate and make for great eating.
Crabapple (Malus ‘Lollizam’)—One of the neighbours had planted a Lollipop crabapple and asked if we wanted to move it into our orchard. The 10ft-high tree gets white flowers in spring. Small yellow fruit appears in the fall.
Pear (Pyrus communis ‘Savignac’)—One of the three varieties I planted is a Savignac, a small round easy eating pear named after Brother Armand Savignac, a Joliette priest who got the then un-named cultivar from the Canada Experimental Farm in 1947.
Raspberries—I haven’t put these in yet, but I plan to. Yellow and red ones would be yummy.
Saskatoon Berry (Amelanchier alnifolia)—The tiny blue berries this plant produces in mid-June aren’t quite as sweet as the woodland bush berries they resemble, but the plant is hardier, easier to grow and each one contains thousands of berries. The Saskatchewan city of the same name was named after the native plant. White flowers cover the plant in the spring, right after Magnolias and Forsythias.
Grape (Maréchal Foch)—These red grapes are a hybrid from Alcace and were originally called Kuhlmann 188-2 (one of whose parents was Goldriesling). The grape was subsequently renamed after a General who served in the French army during World War I.
Plum—I don’t remember the cultivar of the plums we planted, but we got the trees from Stefan Sobkowiak, one of Quebec’s permiculture experts and the owner of Miracle Farms in Cazaville. All three trees are doing splendidly.
Strawberries—Who can deny strawberries. These ground-covering plants are so tasty and easy to grow as long as you move the patch every three or four years. I like the traditional June-bearing variety, because I find the berries taste much better.