Willis Orchard Co
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Well, I don't know!!!
Last spring(2012), I ordered a Stella Cherry Tree, a Flame GrapeVine, a Blueberry GrapeVine, and a Crimson GrapeVine. I have over 22 years of gardening experience. Have great dirt in my beds and used the BioBizz line of OMRI Certified Organic fertilizers.
Last season(2012) all the plants grew fabulous, I mean vibrant green grown and lush foliage. Rain was scarce in Detroit for last summer. A colder than normal winter, with colder than normal spring for 2013.
I wait with anticipation, mouth watering for some grapes and cherries this year. The Flame grape did not come back, luckily I started cutting from it last year and had a plant to spare. Then a month later new sprouts grew from below the ground. Well at least I can hope for Flame grapes 3 years from now!!! The Crimson grapevine did the same thing, it had 14 feet of vine on the trellis and nothing grew from the vine. It died. 3 weeks late, new growth came from the 2 feet above ground and is growing slow for a grapevine. Well at least I can hope for a few grapes next year from the Crimson. I went to the website after talking with a different grower and they said the Flame and Crimson does not grow in my zone(6a). I then went the Willis Orchards website to check the grow zone maps for these varieties, and it said zone 7 and below. I thought this strange because I knwo it said different last year. I also went back the next day to check the Willis Orchards website and someone had changed it, now it says zone 6. Hmmmm. Strange indeed.
The Blueberry GrapeVine came back from winter dormancy as expected. It is growing as expected, but the grapes seem to be dropping in some areas and turning into things other than grapes. I will post later in the season to give an update on the BlueBerry GrapeVine. I also think that because the BlurBerry GrapeVine is only second year in the ground, that it may not product too many bunches of grapes in the north. I hope the few bunches growing on the vine this year will make it to harvest time.
From the growth habit, the BlueBerry Grape is a SPUR prune variety and not a cane prune variety, although it may produce through either method. I am going to try the spur prune method, because all the grapes are growing on this years growth and not last years.
Hey Willis Orchards, do you really know your own plant stocks????
The Stella Cherry tree was a huge disappointment to me, it came back from winter dormancy and grew with a vengeance, I mean super lush growth loaded with blossoms. My mouth started watering and was looking at this first year harvest as a special gift from nature. Then suddenly and after the blooming time, little green cherries started to form, I would say there were at least 40 at most. Then over night, late in May, they all dropped off. Oh well, there is always next year hopefully. I looked on the internet and found that several growers had the same problem with the Stella Cherry, all the fruit dropped off long before harvest time. They all were not young tree as mine either, some of the people wrote that there trees were over 15 years of age. I am wondering if the problem is with the actual stock I got from Willis. I'll just have to wait until next year to see.
I called Willis Orchards and asked about the problem, I spoke with someone named Jay. He was friendly but could not give an answers, he seemed argumentative and also did not seem to knowing about his job. He said he would give me an in store credit if my plants were not right. I thought this was cheap. I mean I paid money for the stock I have now and I would not be too fast to order any more product from Willis, because they seemed not smart and somewhat rude to deal with. Also if yuou return bad stock to them, be prepared to pay for the return shipping.
At least, and with my experience with gardening, The cherry Tree is growing quite vibrant, nice green leaves and it has already gained 18 inches of growth all the way around. So I am hoping for fresh cherries next year. Come on Willis, reply with some garden smarts at what happened to my food for this year. I'm kinda sad, I was really hoping for fresh grapes and Cherries for this season!