When we first moved to Dunrovin from Alaska, I ended up spending a lot of time in my car driving my two sons to their various activities, such as swimming and Taekwondo in Missoula. We were all new to the community and had lots of fun taking note of all the differences between Missoula and Anchorage. Frequently we found ourselves talking about the gorgeous trees that lined the streets and graced neighborhood yards. I would jokingly ask the boys to sneak out in the middle of the night and move one or another beautiful tree out to Lolo to plant on our property. We just couldn’t get over the idea of seeing so many different trees, especially flowering fruit trees. They don’t call Missoula the Garden City for nothing. There’s hardly a neighborhood or yard that does not sport some kind of lovely flowering bush or tree.
Luckily, Dunrovin’s previous owner was a consummate gardener. She landscaped the area immediately around the house with a number of ornamental and fruits trees, primarily apple, crab apple, pear, and plum. Our first Dunrovin spring was a magical time as the slow-motion extravaganza of buds turning to pink, red, purple, and white blooms moved through the garden. We were spellbound. This was an entirely new experience for these winter-worn Alaskans. Spring simply didn’t look anything like this up north.
Unsatisfied with containing ourselves to the trees around our house, we began to create a garden and orchard behind a tall fence to keep the deer and bears at bay. It has been nearly two decades since we planted those first fruit trees in the orchard. Now we have mature apple, cherry, apricot, pear, and plum trees. Each spring the orchard erupts in multiple hues of pink and white, and each fall we harvest loads of fruit to share and to make into preserves. The magic has never worn off. The joy of living among flowering fruit trees is not something that dissipates over time—it only seems to deepen.
A wonderful aspect of having flowering fruit trees is that they attract thousands of orchard or mason bees. These non stinging bees are industrious pollinators that invade the orchard and garden each year. Our introduction to the magic of mason bees and the steps we have taken to cultivate them is a story in itself. Visitors at times think us crazy when we invite them to stand under the flowering fruit trees just to listen the a buzzing symphony. Believe me, the skeptic looks always give way to wide smiles as newcomers are pulled into the magic.
Our Special Flowering Crab Apple Tree
Several years ago, my husbands niece and her fiancée stopped at Dunrovin Ranch during the spring bloom. Our niece, Annie, fell in love with all the white petals that were raining down on the pathways of our garden. She mentioned that she would love to have such beautiful petals to throw at her wedding which was to take place the following year. Well, check out page 71 of the Autumn 2015 Edition of Distinctly Montana to see what we did with that suggestion!
Enjoy more articles from the Dunrovin Lifestyle Magazine!