A Pruner and a Pear Tree


Nearly every house on my block in lower Wallingford sports a fruit tree of historic age, reportedly hearkening back to a time when our section of Wallingford was an orchard. Our home’s tree of advanced age is a pear tree, which rises more than 30 feet into the air and drops thousands of pears each year. [And that’s truth, not hyperbole. One year I picked up 3000 pears].

Each August when the pears start dropping, I think to myself how great it would be if I knew more about this tree and its care. Luckily, the Meridian Park Orchard Stewards are coming to the rescue with just such a workshop which will be held this Saturday, July 28, from 9:30AM – 2:00PM at Seattle Tilth’s Learning Garden at the Good Shepherd. If you have fruit trees that you’d like to know more about, then you should join the fun too!

Here are the details, courtesy of the Seattle Tilth website:

The Meridian Park Orchard Stewards, in cooperation with Seattle Parks, City Fruit and Seattle Tilth, will hold a workshop on Heritage Orchard Renovation at the Seattle Tilth Good Shepherd Center Community Learning Garden and the adjoining Meridian Park. The workshop will focus on general fruit tree biology and summer pruning techniques demonstrated on the dwarf trees in the Learning Garden. There will be an afternoon discussion of mature fruit tree restoration techniques and light summer pruning in the 100-year-old orchard. All those interested in supporting the Meridian Park Orchard Stewards are invited. Bring a sack lunch; drinks will be provided.

To register, email your name and phone number to [email protected]

This workshop is offered free of charge and is sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation in partnership with Seattle Tilth, City Fruit and the Meridian Park Orchard Stewards. Pre-registration is required.

By the way, if anyone knows whether the reports of the mythical Wallingford orchard are true, I’d love to hear about it! I found this very detailed account of Wallingford’s history, which (on page 30 of the pdf) alludes to Wallingford at the turn of the 20th century as having been primarily four farms. However, orchards are not specifically mentioned.

  1. Kim Mulligaan said,

    Kimberly, what a great article would love to make this. I wasn’t aware of the history of farms, just assumed like so much of Seattle, it was timber around that time. Thank you for including the link as well to the detailed history of Fremont, Greenlake, Latona and Wallinford. Love hearing about how much our great city has changed through the years.

    Tue, July 24 at 9:58 am
  2. Donn said,

    I’ve heard the story on the orchards of early Wallingford, in connection with the big cherries around here in the southwest quadrant. Only stumps now.

    Tue, July 24 at 10:20 am
  3. Neighbor2You said,

    This is very cool…thanks for posting it!

    And, a question: are there programs in place to donate unneeded fruit to local food banks? If so, I’d be especially interested to also know if help is needed at harvest-time to pick, package, and assist with delivery.

    Tue, July 24 at 12:55 pm
  4. Lindsey G said,

    Neighbor2You –

    You can donate your extra fruit to Lettuce Link – they distribute the food to local food banks: http://www.solid-ground.org/Programs/Nutrition/Lettuce/Pages/default.aspx

    You can also find out more info with City Fruit (http://cityfruit.org/) they harvest fruit off of trees in Seattle and donate it to local food banks.

    I would also love to take some of your fruit off your hands!

    Tue, July 24 at 1:05 pm
  5. Neighbor2You said,

    Oops, sorry, I didn’t word my question very well. I’m a renter in South Wallingford, so I was actually curious whether people who do have fruit trees and may have a surplus might want to donate to food banks. (I was thinking maybe I could help with harvesting or something.)

    I’ll follow up with City Fruit to see if I can help out there. Thanks for your info!

    Tue, July 24 at 4:24 pm
  6. Meredith said,

    Those pears look amazing! Do you need any help eating the 3000? :) Thanks for sharing the links about the Lettuce program, somehow I’ve been growing monster spinach leaves this year and have that and kale to spare. Added a link with some photos. :)

    Tue, July 24 at 5:32 pm
  7. Barb said,

    City Fruit and Lettuce link share the reponsibility of harvesting and distributing surplus fruit in Seattle. They have divided up the city neighborhood-wise as far as which organization handles which neighborhood.

    If you live in Wallingford or one of the neighborhoods in the next paragraph, and want to help pick or deliver surplus fruit, contact Amanda Lee at Lettuce Link.

    Here’s more info from Amanda:

    I am still recruiting an outreach team and Harvest Leaders for NE Seattle, Fremont, Montlake, Madison Park/Valley, Queen Anne and Magnolia. If you live in any of these neighborhoods, all you would do for outreach is post fliers in high traffic areas like cafes, community centers, etc. Got friends who might be interested in volunteering? Have them email me a volunteer application.

    Lastly, if you haven’t already, please RSVP to one of the Season Kick-Off Meet & Greets! They will take place Tuesday the 31st at the Blue Star Café & Pub (Wallingford) & Wednesday, August 1st at *new location* Linda’s Tavern (Capitol Hill), 5:30-7pm.

    Amanda Lee
    Lettuce Link Harvest Coordinator
    [email protected]

    Solid Ground, Building Community to End Poverty
    1501 N. 45th St. Seattle, WA 98103
    (206) 694-6751


    Fri, July 27 at 10:55 am
  8. Barb said,

    The workshop Saturday is primarily about pruning, specifically renovating old apple trees. If you want more general info on fruit tree care, check out the City Fruit site: cityfruit.org then look for Grow Fruit – Info Sheets

    The lovely pears in the photo above are not, alas, from Kimberly’s tree. She has an Asian pear tree with scab, a fungal disease common on this side of the mountains. Scab can be minimized with good fruit tree hygiene (pick up fallen fruit) but can best be avoided by planting trees that are scab-resistant.

    If anyone really wants to learn how to take care of fruit trees, a great way is to volunteer with one of the urban orchard steward groups. We have two (now) in Wallingford: Burke-Gilman Trail Urban Orchard Stewards and the new Meridian Park stewards. In fact, if you want to learn how to thin apples, the Burke-Gilman stewards will be thinning some apple trees near the University Bridge this Sunday (the 29th) at 9 AM.

    Fri, July 27 at 12:39 pm
Read previous post:
Skanska law reaches critical stage

Ten months ago, the Wallingford Community Council appealed a City environmental review decision for a proposal to rewrite the Living...