Flowers in the Orchard

Dame Farm and Orchard, Johnston, Rhode Island has greatly expanded its flower beds this year. (Russell Steven Powell)

APPLE GROWERS are great gardeners. It stands to reason, as they have the skills and passion for growing things on a large scale in the orchard.

There are practical reasons, too. One is to attract pollinators, supplying them with a source of food throughout the growing season, well after the apples have blossomed in May. Some orchards set aside acreage for this purpose. Without a healthy population of bees, birds, and butterflies, there can be no crops.

Foppema’s Farm, Northbridge, Massachusetts, let a field of Queen Anne’s lace go wild next to its orchard this summer. (Russell Steven Powell)

Honeybees and other pollinators are attracted to Queen Anne’s lace growing among the trees at Ricker Hill Orchards, Turner, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)

Another reason is to attract customers. Flowers paired with apples, after all, make for striking combinations that are as seductive as nectar, adding to the orchard’s appeal.

In some cases, flowers and vegetables are an integral part of a diversified farm, supplementing its tree fruit.

Russell Orchards, Ipswich, Massachusetts. (Bar Lois Weeks)

Dozens of wild pollinators like this bumblebee feed on sunflowers and other flowers at Russell Orchards, Ipswich, Massachusetts. (Bar Lois Weeks)

The flowers may simply be a way to beautify the orchard for the people who live and work there.

Whatever the reasons, most growers just can’t help themselves. During the summer months, before the apples are ripe for picking, many find time to put their hands in the soil to create something as sensual and spectacular as the fruit to come.

Here are some examples from this and previous years.

Riverview Farm, Plainfield, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
The orchard is on a ridge behind the nursery at Windy Hill Farm, great Barrington, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
Sunnycrest Farm, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Rows of well-tended strawberry plants thrive next to the apple trees at Brookdale Fruit Farm, Hollis, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Red Apple Farm, Phillipston, Massachusetts. (Bar Lois Weeks)
Brackett’s Orchards, Limington, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)
Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
McDougal Orchards, Springvale, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)
A large stand of dill plants blossomed during fall foliage season at Gould Hill Orchards, Hopkinton, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
A thick stand of bee balm and coneflower attracted pollinators at Butternut Farm, Farmington, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
A wide row of flowers spans the orchard this September at Dame Farm and Orchard, Johnston, Rhode Island. (Russell Steven Powell)

TO LEARN MORE about how (and why) apples are pollinated during spring bloom, view this four-minute video: