Tuesday, May 18, 2010

End of the Golden Weather

I had already emailed a tree nursery enquiring about heritage apples suitable for this climate when I remembered the old tree up above the swimming pool. Every year, come frosts, come drought it is covered with bright red apples. I had been told they weren't worth bothering about and it occurred to me that it may be a cooking apple. Yes it is and a jolly good one too. Picked a bucket of apples and stewed them, bottled them, and remembering Jen's apple jelly, made jelly with the skins and cores. How thrifty is that? Sophie would be absolutely proud of me (Destitute Gourmet). The final test, made an apple pudding for tea which proved their suitability.

Here's one that got missed below, good colour and good size but the flesh is very dense suggesting not enough water. No surprises there.

There are old concrete bearers on the ground behind the tree suggesting that there has been a small dwelling there at some point. Went back to get a photo of the tree and found another one beside it that I have never noticed before. A smaller tree in fairly poor condition sporting one delicious apple. Call me Eve; I photographed it before I ate it. Have never seen one like it before but we all agreed it tasted great; shared it. Open Orchard Project down in Riverton (that's Robert Guyton) runs grafting workshops where you can graft your heritage tree cuttings onto new rootstock. I can see a week-end away coming up for me at some stage. I expect they may be able to identify the varieties also, given enough information. Shame I've already eaten the only specimen.

Meanwhile back in the glasshouse...I have covered the lemon trees in the middle with frost cloth. The frocks are pinned on with clothes pegs and already branches are wriggling out from underneath. This is the make or break year-deliver the goods or go. To their credit they are covered in lemons (green) and it's on the strength of this that they are getting such care. Looking forward to those lemons you lot.

I hate it when people ask for advice and then promptly disregard it but I had to in this instance. The advice was spread wood chips and quality compost over and fork in lightly. Well I haven't got any compost, good, bad or indifferent so on went the woodchips, pony poo as available, a sprinkle of blood and bone and contrary to anything I may have said before, I sowed lupins.

If you've ever watched Location Location Location on a Saturday night, the clients give the real estate agent a list of what they want and then buy something quite different. For my part, I was going to sow black oats, but when I went to find the netting to keep the birds off, it was buried beneath and behind building bits and peices. Birds don't eat lupin seed, plan A out the window, enter plan B. How easily carefully thought out plans are discarded for convenience.

The soil is looking all the better for it and I suddenly remembered that I've always had a feel for good soil. Even when we were little making mud pies we (you know who 'we' is Marg) knew that parts of the garden had much better dirt for baking, and that an egg or two (who's idea was it?)made a glossy smooth mixture. Cooking and gardening go so naturally hand in hand.

Beyond that I've been on caterpillar patrol all week. There are only nine cabbages but I planted them all together and created, in hindsight, a white butterfly brassica buffet. Still finding more caterpillars every day. Nine cabbages will be plenty because there's only one family will have the nerve to eat them . A final shot of the garden; it's a 'before' shot. As I said to Bill, call me Rolf Harris. No not singing kangaroo songs; in a few weeks, with a few deft final strokes it will all come together and suddenly everbody will see what has been in my mind's eye all along. An ordered garden bedded down for the winter. Posted by Picasa


  1. Well it would be totally unbecoming to sow your wild oats now that you're in your 40s. But sowing lupins, well, that's quite classy, as is your apple jelly.

    That apple tree really does look like it's out of a story book hey?

    Have a great week, Love J.

  2. Well mum will be getting the full home made treatment while she's down what with the cooking apples and jelly.

  3. Thank you so much for garlic! It arrived safely today,and really made my day. I would love to send you something in reciprocation - normally would send some of our vino but just wanted to check whether that was appropriate - I know nothing about your community, but I grew up in a religious community which was strictly teetotal... anyway let me know....