After months of careful consideration, I ordered eight fruit trees from Stark Bros. nursery in Louisiana, Missouri: four apple, two pear and two peach. All are dwarf size. I originally found the info for Stark Bros. on Martha's website, and then again in my Gardening in Illinois book. I ordered at the end of April and scheduled delivery for mid-May so the trees would arrive right before the football team did for the yard clean-up day.
But I digress, as I got all the other trees I had ordered, and they all arrived in good condition. I immediately put them into buckets of water and they chillaxed in my foyer for two days before the football team planted them.
Notice how I ran out of buckets and used a cooler. Just keeping it real, folks!
The two apple trees (Red Delicious and Winter Banana) are on the south side of the backyard. If these do well, then I will definitely (re-) order Honeycrisp and Winesap for planting next spring. I planted all trees in the order in which they will bear fruit--those ripening earlier in the season are the furthest east to get the most sun, while those that will ripen later (such as the Winter Banana apple which ripens in October) are to the west.
The peach (Delicious and Reliance) trees and pear (Delicious and Moonglow) are along the north side of the backyard. I did this on purpose: the north side of the backyard gets sun earlier in the season, and therefore the peach and pear trees (which ripen earlier in the season than apples) would get the sun they needed right away so they could get to work providing me with fresh and tasty fruit.
Since I am not a fruit tree expert, I have no idea how well my planting rationale would work, but it's worth a try!
Within a week of getting in the ground, all of my trees had small green buds on them. Hooray!
They won't set fruit for 2-3 years, but I'm hoping they will thrive and it will be worth the wait. Here, my Little Guy stands next to the Delicious Peach. I ordered all dwarf supreme trees (supreme was supposed to indicate a larger specimen) and this is the smallest one of the whole bunch.
The Little Guy was thrilled to be bigger than a tree. I'm hoping that by summer's end that won't be the case and the tree will have a few inches on him. I'm excited to start my home orchard, and I hope my careful planning and purchases pay off in a few years with bushels and bushels of pears, peaches and apples. I can almost taste the pie right now!