Let nature take its course

A workshop that should be mandatory for all mankind is the one that teaches us, “How to Leave Things Alone and Let Nature Take its Course.”

I was browsing through the Township events calendar recently and came across a course titled,  “How to Train Your Fruit Trees to Produce More Fruit.” I was intrigued by this, as I wasn’t sure if you actually brought your fruit trees to the class and had them pay attention, or if this was a course for the orchard owner.

It seems the workshop will cover how fruit trees grow and how to direct new growth to produce bigger crops in future years. Discussion will include training of various tree forms, fruit thinning of apples and pears, and the use of mesh bags as non-chemical barriers to prevent codling moth and apple maggot infestations of the fruit.

I have a pear tree and a cherry tree and I do absolutely nothing to them each and yet I always get pears and cherries. I don’t do dormant spraying or add any fertilizers and the only pruning I do is loping off a low hanging branch if it interferes with the lawn mowing. Nature seems to look after all the other stuff.

No doubt there are many things I could do to increase the crop, but I don’t can or preserve anything and a juicy pear for dessert or a bowl of cherries as a snack is plenty for me. My two trees seem to appreciate the lack of attention.

I seem to recall that fruit grows on the previous year’s growth so if you don’t prune regularly, the fruit ends up on top where you can’t reach it. Guys have ladders and being able to pick cherries standing on the ground sounds pretty boring to me. I like to think that nature knows what she’s doing.

I recall a story about a man who stopped by his friend’s house for a visit. He was distraught and depressed and embarrassed by the way his life had turned out. His friend was an avid gardener and suggested they go out to the rose garden where it was quiet.

Before he sat down, the gardener plucked a rose bud, ready to open, from a bush and asked his troubled friend to open it while he talked. His friend talked about the way his poor life had unfolded, trying to assign blame for his misfortune.

When he stopped talking, the gardener asked him how he was making out with the rose. It was a mess. The stem was broken, the leaves were torn and most of the fragile petals were on the ground.

“I messed it up,” was the reply.

The gardener said, “Look around at the roses God has opened, how perfect they are, glowing and fragrant. Maybe you should stop trying to run your life the way you have been, give it to God and let him unfold it for you.”

For centuries we have been grafting, cloning, spraying, pruning and clear cutting everything nature has provided to us ,and yet here we are in the 21st century and we are told our planet is a mess. We choke the leaves with smog and chemicals and we poison the soils and waste the water, and yet the trees still give us fruit in spite of how bad we have treated them.

I think the workshop that should be mandatory for all mankind is the one that teaches us, “How to Leave Things Alone and Let Nature Take its Course.” At least that’s what McGregor says.