The Santa Clara Valley is the best place in the entire Universe for horticulture. Yet, few of the nearly two million people who live there now appreciate it, or realize that some of the area was still occupied by orchards only half a century ago. These pictures are from the garden where I lived before graduating from high school, and subsequently planting the peach tree #5 in 1985. Apricots and cherries were finishes quite a while ago. Peaches will be ready soon. These are not orchard trees, but they are happy to be here.

1. Garden Annie apricot – is, as the name implies, a garden variety rather than an orchard variety. With surprisingly minimal pruning, it stays compact and proportionate to a home garden.P00801-1

2. Stella cherry – is likewise a garden variety. It was selected because it is self fruitful, so does not need a pollinator. It also has stayed relatively compact and proportionate to limited space.P00801-2

3. Anjou pear – is also known as D’Anjou or Beurre D’Anjou pear. Pears and apples were not common in the orchards of the Santa Clara Valley, but were grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains.P00801-3

4. Golden Delicious apple – is more commonly and more appropriately known as Yellow Delicious apple. It was selected as an all purpose ‘only child’ apple for baking, cooking or eating fresh.P00801-4

5. seed grown peach – came here from a compost pile in Santa Clara in about December of 1985. The fruit is excellent. However, after all these years, I have never been able to propagate it.P00801-5

6. Rhody – performs pre-emergent weed abatement by collecting large quantities of burclover seed. He does not enjoy getting them removed from his finely textured fur afterward though.P00801-6

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

26 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Suburbia

  1. Nice choice of fruit. Is the net effective against birds? Blackbirds can’t stop eating my figs these days. I tried to put a net but the fig leaves go through holes of the net and it damages the tree and the net at the end. (a fig tree of 5 * 5m though )

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    1. The net is ‘supposed’ to protect the fruit from squirrels, but does not. The tree used to be to productive for them to damage all the fruit, but has been dying back over the years.

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  2. Love the peach! They’re just in season a bit southwest of us. Have the orchards been taken over by housing and Wal Marts since the 80’s? And, does the Santa Clara valley get enough rain for agriculture or do the fields need to be irrigated like other California valleys that are more often in the news?

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    1. The Santa Clara Valley has been overrun by urban sprawl, primarily since the 1950s. I am not old enough to remember many of the orchards. Only a few remained by my time, and most of them were replaced by urban development in the 1980s. Orchards were here because they did not mind the long dry summers like other agricultural commodities would have. Apricots and cherries were harvested before the trees noticed that there were getting no rain. Peaches were common only in a small and warmer part of the Santa Valley because they ripen slower, so are more likely to dislike the long dry summers. They ripen a bit faster where warmer. They get irrigated in home gardens. The Santa Clara Valley is what is now known as the Silicon Valley, although I NEVER use such offensive terminology.


    1. Yes; but this is only a few. I intend to grow all of what was once common in the Santa Clara Valley, and a few more. The orchard cultivars are different from home garden varieties. I would like to grow my trees in the flat and exemplary soil of the Santa Clara Valley, but that is not an option now. I will instead grow them in the Santa Cruz Mountains above.

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  3. Now, I wonder about that Santa Clara Valley claim! My grandmother lived in Salinas, and she could grow anything, anything, with no effort at all. She had the most amazing garden and her vegetables were unbelievable. She canned so many beans she had dozens of canned jars stored away after she died. We did throw them out! She ruined her canned beans serving them, never trusting her own canning. She boiled them for ages before dinner!
    My Stella cherry up and died her second year. Formed buds then they dried out and she died. They were delicious cherries though.

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    1. The Salinas Valley grows different agricultural commodities, primarily vegetables. There are not as many orchards there as there were in the Santa Clara Valley.


    1. Oh, they are not my trees. I would prefer orchard cultivars rather than home garden varieties. However, I have been wanting a copy of that peach since I planted it in 1985.


  4. There are several areas round here which have a long history of fruit orchards but nothing there now. I once saw a series of maps around Lostwithiel where around a third of the fields were down to orchards in the first, then fifty years later another third and fifty years after that the final third. Now, nothing. I can understand not replanting apples on land that has been an orchard for fifty years but you’d have maybe expected them to go back the first lot after a gap of 100 years. Cheaper to import them it seems.

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