Our featured tree this week is the peach, Prunus persica. There’s nothing better than eating fresh fruit picked right off the tree. Recently I bought a basket of peaches from a commercial grocery-store in South Philly. Biting into the fruit, my cheeks pursed inward from the sour taste of the dry and rubbery fruit. Blech!
If only I could grow my own peaches. Oh wait, I can! PHS is offering several fruit trees during this year’s fall sale, including peaches, apricots, and pawpaws. A number of ornamental flowering trees and canopy trees are also available.Visit www.phsonline.org for detailed information about each tree. The deadline to order is this Friday, September 7. Pick up takes place at the PHS Fall Garden Festival on Sept. 22.
The trees you plant this fall could start fruiting as early as next summer, or the following. Fresh cobbler, jam, and ice cream are just a few ways to incorporate peaches into cooking. Even its pink flowers can add a pretty edible garnish to cuisine.
Cultivated since pre-biblical times, the peach has a rich history. The scientific name, Prunus persica, is partially a misnomer; although Europeans first found peaches in Persia, they were brought into the Middle East even earlier by way of the old Silk Road from China.The symbolism associated with the fruit varies across cultures; in China it is associated with life, death, fertility, and youth. The Chinese tale, The Peach Blossom Spring, depicts a fisherman’s chance discovery upon a utopia, hidden at the end of a peach blossom forest, where people lived happily in peace and perfect harmony with nature.
In the western world peaches are linked to sincerity. The fruit of the peach represents the heart in Renaissance art, and its leaf, the tongue. Images of a peach with an attached leaf symbolize speaking directly from the heart. On that note, thank you Janet Evans, our McLean librarian, for helping to direct me to all this information.
This wonderful fruit tree could make a symbolic gesture in the landscape, and a perfect gift for a loved-one. In the literal world, it is simply delicious. Try growing your own peaches by purchasing one through the PHS Tree Sale.
Stop by the Fall Garden Festival to pick up your tree and say hi to me and the rest of the tree team!