The American Primitive style of painting has been around at least since the 13 original colonies. Several paintings of this style include idyllic farms with a house, a barn, livestock, tilled fields and an orchard.

Fork River Farm by Charles Wysocki, painted in the Primitive style.

Fork River Farm by Charles Wysocki, painted in the Primitive style.

The Primitive or Naive style was originally practiced by artists with little or no training, rather coincidental given that my gardening and landscaping is also untrained and a bit primitive. These and similar landscape paintings are a source of inspiration, portraying the bucolic splendor of rural life in 18th and 19th century America.

American Farm Scene in the Primitive Style

Early American Farm Scene

With these images in mind, I set out to create a mini orchard of my own, purchasing and planting a few apple and cherry trees. The idea was to just let them grow, and eventually bear fruit. What could be easier, right?

A couple of years passed before I performed any research, with unfortunate results for the trees. As it turns out, establishing an orchard can take 7-8 years. It often  requires extensive soil preparation, and selection of suitable varieties. Regular pruning and shaping of the branches is essential.  Pest control is labor intensive, especially if one chooses to do it without chemicals. Deer are especially destructive in my area.

Armed with a little more information, the project more-or-less had to be restarted, beginning with some heavy pruning. The initial plan was to create a neat, double row of trees, many of which have already been planted. As a modification to the plan, additional trees will be incorporated into the existing landscaping. This is to take advantage of the spring blossom, enlivening the existing clumps of deciduous trees with the spring color of fruit trees.

Orchard, located north of the house.

Orchard, located north of the house.