Enjoyed the article, Sally. It reminded me of how I came to be a gardener. At age 15, an elderly neighbor called me to his garden to give me a peach he had grown. It was a huge freestone peach, almost softball-sized. The flesh was very sweet and so juicy that the trickle down my chin quickly became a torrent. The only peach to withstand Iowa winters--where the temperature has no trouble falling to -20F--in those days was was a small, white-fleshed peach that was favored by those suffering from constipation, if you get my drift. It was a good idea not to eat more than two at a sitting.
My kindly neighbor had for many years been buying bushels upon bushels of yellow freestone peaches during peach season. After the peaches had been processed, his wife gave him the pits to plant in his garden. He just kept on planting and selecting those seedlings that were able to survive the winter. Eventually had hit the jackpot with the peach I described above. Then he taught me how to bud graft. I thought that it was an absolute miracle that one could slip the bud of one peach under the bark of another and have it grow. Together we propagated his new peach until we had a six or so trees on each of our properties.
Several years later, my neighbor died. His fabulous peach trees suffered a similar fate, as no one was around to tend them after he was gone. My own trees flourished, and I often had to ration the fruit, since so many folks wanted to taste it. When I graduated from high school and went off to college, I entrusted the trees to my parents. While I was gone, they were attacked by peach borers. Since they bored into the trees underground, there was no visible sign of infestation or damage. By the time I figured out what was going on, the trees were beyond saving. Such was the brief life of the first yellow-fleshed peach to withstand Iowa's frigid winters.