Last autumn I expanded the orchyard by planting several new perennials. While the pears and quince seem to have come through the winter OK, the rest of the group seem to have not done as well. Of two hazelnut plants, one is nowhere to be found (my bet is on deer) and the second was suspiciously reluctant to push out any buds… On closer examination it turned out to be dead. The English walnut, which was planted mainly to provide grafting stock so that my wild black walnut seedlings could produce useable nuts, has yet to show any signs of life. The Darrow blackberries remain as unproductive sticks in the ground, and the Rosa Rugosa has yet to show any signs of life. All of these arrived in a single shipment which showed up in a torn package, but two lilacs from the same order survived the winter in good shape so at least something from the order survived.
My early spring planting has also had some challenges. The “Jersey” blueberry bush, which I bought in a dried out paper pot mainly out of pity for the plant, appears not to have survived, while the “Hardiblue” seems to be doing well. The Swiss Chard came up and I have gone ahead and thinned it, but there is nary-a-sign of the basil. The basil seeds were some I found in a drawer, and looking at the seed package it appears to have been packed for the 2001 season, so I think I’ll give old seeds the credit for that failure.
Despite these initial setbacks, I decided it was time to press ahead with at least some more planting, and last weekend I put in rows of pea, okra, and habanero seeds. After the basil experience I am somewhat guarded with my outlook on the habanero, as they were also of the 2001 vintage.