(article continued from October)
It is worth mentioning the cherries – which were not ripe. ‘Stella’ which is self- fertile, was not ripe, and neither were ‘Yellow Glass’ or ‘Gold’, two extremely hardy yellow sweet cherries. ‘Hedelfingen’, an old German Variety, was barely ripe (it ripens ahead of ‘Stella’). The tree of ‘Lapins’ in the collection was juvenile, but it also is a very late-ripening sweet cherry although it has almost every quality one might desire: firmness, sweetness, self-fertility, crack resistance, and very large size. ‘Lapins’, a cross of ‘Van’ with ‘Stella’ is also reputed to be quite hardy and has met with high customer acceptance when sold commercially in British Columbia, its province of origin.
Concerning tart cherries, North Star’ was barely ripe, and ‘Meteor’ was not ripe on June 16. ‘Early Richmond’ was ripe, however. The biggest surprise in the tart cherry row was a Wisconsin cultivar named ‘Del Nord’. Fruits on it measured typically 3/4 to 7/8 inch across. A dark red color, the fruit looked similar to ‘Bing’. They had a delightful mixture of sweetness and tartness. Hardiness is unknown, but since the tree is from Wisconsin, it should be well worth a try in Anchorage and points south. ‘Mesabi’, another pie cherry which was developed in Minnesota, was not of bearing age. It is hardier than sweet cherries (Zone 4 in the Bailey Nursery wholesale catalog) and intermediate in flavor between sweet and tart, cherries.