We started at Al's Auto Body and Arboretum and learned a good deal about the history of the operation and his plans for the future. Although the plants weren't at their peak because the season is late, Al was a gracious host who helped us understand his focus on the humble hosta. A number of us came home with plants in the trunk.
|Al in his Arboretum|
After leaving Al's we headed south to just outside Harvard, Illinois to Royal Oak Orchard Farm where we had a covered wagon tour of the orchard and a highly informative and very unexpected impromptu lecture on biodiversity and IPM in their orchard by Dennis M. Norton the orchard keeper at Royal Oak. He has a blog (The Orchardkeeper/) with articles going back to 2006. This was the original blog and contains a link to a newer version.
We were all very impressed with Dennis's range of knowledge. We are hoping to invite him to visit Janesville sometime over the winter to give us his 2 hour presentation on fruit tree care and maintenance. Below is 4 generations of this orchard family which began with Peter and Gloria Bianchi. Dennis is shown at the far left.
|The Royal Oak family.|