I grew up (and currently live) in Sunnyvale, CA, which is in the heart of Silicon Valley, home of many cycles of economic bubbles, which was formerly known as the Valley of Hearts' Delight, home of some of the most excellent cherries, apricots and plums in the world. Many of the orchards had disappeared by the time I was a kid, but there were still a lot of Bing cherry trees around. For those of you who haven't tried them, Bing cherries are incredible - big, sweet, tart, flavorful and firm-textured, and Sunnyvale Bings are the best. When I used to walk to elementary school, I passed a number of houses with big cherry trees in the front yards. With the perspective of childhood, I remember them as being gigantic trees, almost like giant redwoods, but now that I'm older I suspect they were merely medium sized. Every June, they would be covered with cherries. Like my memory of the size of the trees, this memory may be somewhat exaggerated . I used to sneak a cherry or two from each tree that I passed. I remember the soft calm June morning air and the excitement that came from only having a few days of school left, but mostly I remember the cherry trees.
I was not the only one who noticed the cherry trees. My mom, who's a bigger cherry maniac than me, dreamed of having some massive cherry trees of her own. I've lost track of how many she's planted over the years. They never yielded many cherries. Either they didn't bloom at the same time and couldn't cross pollinate, or they bloomed at the same time as the orange tree and none of the bees even went to the cherry trees since the orange tree was so sweet smelling. The birds would then get a lot of the cherries that were produced. Occasionally a tree would die and she'd replace it.
I drive on the same street when I go visit my mom. Most of the cherry trees are gone. Nonetheless, I still have my dreams of cherry trees. A few weeks ago I went to the garden store to buy some fertilizer. I came home with a cherry tree. It had a Bing and a Ranier grafted onto it. That combination should do the trick for cross pollination. Nonetheless, the next day I went out and bought another cherry tree. I planted them in my front yard alongside my driveway. Somewhat painfully, I dug out massive holes for them and rearranged rose bushes. I also planted a grapefruit tree, and though I'm pretty sure it will be more productive than the cherry trees, it just doesn't quite have the same magic. I fantasize that they will be as big and productive as the cherry trees of my childhood memories, and I might even begrudgingly let the neighborhood kids steal some on their way to school.