Cherry tree picking

A cherry tree will be going into the backyard of the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood.

My dear wife Karen and I took the trip to Chuck Hafner’s Garden Center in North Syracuse this past weekend, walking the aisles under the sun out back and inside the greenhouses, too. We spied the varieties of blossom-producers, looking them over with hopeful and judging eyes. We read their tags and pictured them at full height and width at that spot in front of the backyard fence separating our yard from Good Neighbor Tim and his Wonderful Wife Lorraine’s plot.

We looked at how tall they are now and compared that to length of the Mazda CX5. Price came into play. These babies are expensive. Try north of $200.

Tall and pink.

Tall and pink.

Explaining the characteristics.

Explaining the characteristics.

And the whole 25 feet.

And the whole 25 feet.

The first group we ran into stood tall, probably too. The “profusion of soft-pink flowers” sounded wonderful, but I thought I’d have to call around to find somebody with a pick-up truck to help me bring one of these babies home. I also thought it would grow too high and wide for our Little Bitty backyard. The photo on the sign truly did help keep it in the running nevertheless.

Umbrella of white.

Umbrella of white.

Weeping, in short.

Weeping, in short.

And our Easter Weekend getaway to Washington, D.C., and the walk around the Tidal Basin to spot many beginning-to-bloom trees during the Cherry Blossom Festival became part of my mental calculations, too, when we spotted a field of white that revealed these weepers. I thought of Karen and a group of women amid white across a road when we strayed on the way toward the Jefferson Memorial.

Nice. But these, listed at six- to eight-feet maximum, would never grow that high. Not even close.

Ron Burgundy has a genus! Wait, Royal.

Ron Burgandy has a genus! Wait, Royal.

Other fruits began dominating the outdoor tree sections. Pear. Apple. Peach. Plum. I read the tags and pictured what we might put in our earth with even a Medium Bitty and Slightly Larger budget …

On the other side sat one more stand of cherry, this reading Burgundy Royal, looking promising to me for its vivid color, of blossom and leaves before they wave goodbye in fall. Also, I’d call these medium-sized at full maturity. Me likey.

Screw up my courage for pinkish-white?

Screw up my courage for pinkish-white?

The fence cut winds but collects water, for 50-50.

The fence cut winds but collects water, for 50-50.

On the way inside, the first of two greenhouses before reaching the store proper included a batch of cherry trees stored in the wayback. Karen spotted them right off. I picked up the red tags designating that they’d been sold.

The Little Twist combined pink and white, to my eyes, and had a top-heavy shape without any weeping.

Perfect name for Syracuse, the Snow Fountain.

Perfect name for Syracuse, the Snow Fountain.

Get my drift on the cool shape?

Get my drift on the cool shape?

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match.

White blossoms. Weeping shape. Full height, eight to 15 feet, over the top of the fence, but not over the top of our Little Bitty sensibility. (That’s in satisfying contrast to the mini Snow Fountains we spotted outside, I note.) Full width, six to eight feet, wouldn’t overwhelm the whole side of the yard. Zone 5, hardy to 20ยบ below F.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner. We think. Of course, all of these had been tagged as sold. We’ll have to call and see if the good folks at Hafner’s have more to sell us in the next few weeks.

Would you pick a different type tree that blossomed for a longer period of time, and if so, which species? Would you go for a true fruit-bearing tree, and if so, which one? Which of the cherry trees do you like best, and why?

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78 thoughts on “Cherry tree picking

  1. Cherry trees are lovely. I remember one in the back yard as a kid. Harvest time meant a lot of stooping and gathering, but also cherry pies! Yay. Good luck and good planting.

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  2. I live in a wooded area, so I’d be inclined to choose actual fruiting trees for the back 40 and somethin dwarf for the yard. Tree maintenance is no fun, and costs a lot to have someone else come to prune. We’ve got two apple trees to fuss over already.
    They’re all lovely, but I suppose I’m partial to the Burgundy Royal ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • It is a looker, that Burgundy Royal, Joey. But we favor the small ones because of the small yard and the pruning issues, as you so rightly point out. You have a back 40! That’s great for you, as that reminds me about your goals for hubby and you to reap the harvest. Yay!!

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  3. Your story reminds me of when we went to our garden store to purchase a tree because our yard didn’t have enough. We opted for a pear tree because (1) I like pears and pictured picking them an canning them, and giving really fresh fruit to my then young children, and (2) everyone has apples trees, but I didn’t see a lot of pear trees around. The tree as its benefits and drawbacks. Yes, the fruit is wonderful, except that we can only reach the pears on the lower branches – the squirrels get all the good ones. And when those pears fall? You do not want to be under that tree at the time, and you do not want to be the one in charge of picking up hundreds of rotting pears from the back yard.

    However, it is amusing at the end of the season when the pears start to ferment, and the squirrels all get tipsy.

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  4. Oh so many choices!!!! We had the same situation when choosing a mesquit out here. So many to choose from!!
    I think your choice is perfect and now the hunt is on to get it home!

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    • I had woods behind our house down on Long Island, too, Scott, and the developer cut into them so we did not have to worry about the front yard, either. Here in the Syracuse city, though, it’s take some down as they get too big, see others fall as they get old and ill, and put others in. You’ll find out what I mean out in your place soon enough, I guess. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Your weeping cherry tree is beautiful, Mark. In Chicago, growing up, some streets were lined with crabapple trees that, to me, had a lot of the beauty of the cherry trees in Washington. When I moved to L.A. and bought a house, I wanted a beautiful spring tree like that, but the heat here overwhelms most of those trees in most areas of the city. Nonetheless, I was able to find an ornamental crabapple that hung in there for us. If not a perfect pink profusion, we had an artful pink scattering of blooms about its branches every spring. The apples, reduced in size even further by our unkind climate, stayed on the tree to Christmas looking like cheery cherries against the black bark. After that, they made handy missiles for growing boys.

    All around, a most satisfactory tree planting.

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  6. I love blossoms Mark! I love cherries! Besides apple trees, I’m not sure if any other fruit-bearing tree would survive in Calgary. I hope you can get exactly the tree you want for your little bitty. โค
    Diana xo

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  7. Oh gosh, well truly a valiant effort. We need to be planting more trees and those just seem like really beautiful ones, never mind the fact that they might produce some tasty fruit. Do you need to do anything special so they cultivate edible fruit? I think I’d have an avocado tree. They’re really popular here in L.A. I love avocados.

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  8. I love your cherry tree Mark. How lovely! I have never seen a cherry tree snow fountain (weeping)! Great choice. I can’t wait to see the pictures of you digging the hole. LOL! Excited to hear more about your tree. โค

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  9. A friend of mine had a fruit-bearing cherry tree in her garden. the local kids used to steal what they could of the fruits, but they only did it the once for these were not the sweet cherry variety but the sour cooking cherry. perfect baked with loads of sugar in one of Agnes’s pies. Yum. BTW I think you have made the perfect choice with snow fountain

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  10. Oh, man. Who knew picking out a tree would be so difficult. So many things to consider. Actually, I did kind of know this because Mr. B’s brother (the one who I had to return the Christmas tree to back when) manages a nursery and we cannot even buy a weed without consulting with him first. He’s gotten us some nice birches which I love but I share your enthusiasm for the cherry trees. Especially after you having visited DC. They are so beautiful. I hope the store gets more of Snow Fountains soon.

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  11. I love the cherry bro Mark. And my favorite scented soap is cherry blossom, so that’s a definite for me. Of course, being me, I would also plant a fruit bearing cherry tree, just in case G. Washington should pass by with his ax, or, barring that, because I love cherries. And sour cherries are really good for pain control, gout, and a large number of other ailments, so tuck one away in the back, keep it covered with fine mesh so the birds won’t eat the fruit, and send all excess fruit to me, cause I know what to do with it. Your blog is hard to find lately brother.

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  12. Hi Mark – I need to come back and catch up = but wanted to say this was fun tree shopping with you – be back late r- but laughing at winner winner chicken dinner – ha

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