Our Fruit Collection
  Our Rose Collection

Greenmantle Nursery
3010 Ettersburg Road
Garberville CA 95542
(707) 986-7504

Back when we first began our fruit collection, we purchased a number of exotic apple trees from a prestigious specialty nursery in the Midwest. Because they shipped their stock late in the season (April), most of our new trees did not survive their first season in California. After two consecutive years of bad luck, the owner offered to have his propagator send us a "grafting order" of dormant benchgrafts - instead of the customary one year trees. These grafts on MM111 did splendidly and the resulting trees became part of our foundation stock.

Calville Blanc

One of the oldest, finest, and best loved apples of Europe - This was grown under the name Calville Blanc d'Hiver as early as 1592. The English know it as White Winter Calville. It adapts well to North American orchards and was appreciated by Thomas Jefferson and Albert Etter. Calville Blanc is extraordinary for it very high Vitamin C content. Illustration by Pierre-Antoine Poiteau circa 1768.

The experience led us to consider the possibility of making benchgrafts a practical option for our own nursery customers. So for the past twenty years, Greenmantle Nursery has pioneered in the development of retail benchgraft orders. To make this work, we have focused on three aspects of the process:

  1. We created an effective method of binding, sealing, and reinforcing our grafts (usually whip-and-tongue) so that they would have maximum strength and durability to withstand the rigors of shipping and handling.
  2. We came up with some effective ways to pack the grafting orders in varying quantities (from one to a thousand) so that they were safely protected from potential damage in transit.
  3. We prepared a detailed instruction sheet for benchgraft customers to ensure the best possible aftercare and nurture.

Preparing a whip-and -tongue graft

Wrapping and labeling the completed benchgraft

Of course, grafts will always be more fragile and problematic than older trees; customers in a sense have to be willing to function as their own nurserymen. We always encourage our customers to grow the grafts out for a season in a protected nursery row or in containers before planting them in the orchard. Nevertheless, some have ignored this advice and still managed to succeed.

Apple Benchgrafts (whip-and-tongue) ready for planting: Graft on left is MM111 rootstock (vigorous semi-dwarf); Graft on right is domestic apple seedling rootstock (standard). Note multiple layers of wrapping material......

Despite the extra risk and trouble - the benchgraft option has several important advantages:

  1. We can keep the grafts dormant significantly longer than our older stock. This enables us to ship them at a time most advantageous to customers in colder climates.
  2. Because the packages are significantly smaller and lighter, freight costs become much more affordable. Express air service (eg. UPS Three Day Select) is currently a routine option for our "Back East" shipments.
  3. Customers who prefer Fall planting can put their personally nurtured trees out in the orchard as soon as dormancy occurs. Here in coastal California, our apple trees keep growing till the New Year; this is why our shipping season doesn't start till January.....
  4. Where capital is limited, grafting orders provide customers the opportunity to acquire more trees and/or varieties than normally possible.
  5. Options for a diverse assortment of varieties and rootstocks are greatly increased. As a small nursery, we are very limited in the number of varieties and trees we can keep in inventory - we only propagate the most popular varieties on a regular basis. A grafting order may be the only way to get something different or rare. Also, we can offer more rootstock options this way.
  6. It's fun... People are thrilled to watch their trees grow from a minuscule graft. This is an excellent way for the novice fruit explorer to get started on a meaningful new obsession.

Fruit Collection
- Rose Collection

All original text and images © Greenmantle Nursery 2005 -2012