The Fruit Garden

plum tree fruitI returned from my August bank holiday, after four nights camping it out in the great outdoors to a scenario that I thought mildly beyond my belief.

Branches of my plum trees were touching ground level making life really easy for the creatures that aren’t that tall to take a quick nibble of the now purple fruits. The birds, it was obvious to see were quite easily covering the sections a little higher in altitude.

Of a more neglected feel to my great outdoors, the grass was much longer than usual. I’ll very simply put this down to the infrequent yet high enough levels of rainfall and temperatures in their teens that had dappled my sun factor versus rain coat trials, all the while making my grass cutting quite difficult.

But my fruit tree investments are, it seems starting to pay off. The five plum trees from which I have never cropped fruit from before have at last returned a decent harvest. Decent enough I should add to warrant searching for a recipe to prolong their stay in my pantry that is. One should also bear in mind that three of the trees pretty much did nothing at all, but then that’s why I bought five of them.

It goes a little further than that as the pear trees are also starting to dish out their deserts [see what I did there…] and the apple trees, of which I have about four varieties are coming along quite nicely too. Some of them have even started to fall, something I discovered as the ride on lawnmower began to chug slightly across the long grass and the apple squash began to splatter across the nearest window. More chores I thought….

But the trees and bushes aren’t really chores. Not once you plant them that is.

To the other fruits; I have one fig tree and whilst there are some figs, they are nothing really of worth bragging about. Two or three little ones. But in the wee trees defence, it has spent most of its energy fighting the most recent frost it had taken a severe battering from, so I’m more concerned in it getting bigger and stronger for next year than this.

Stepping it down in height from tree to bush, the currants have already delivered and the berries are in the freezer compartment ready for any given Sundays ice cream to be made that little more colourful.

Other than that I have some peach trees, but I have to admit, this pair and I, aren’t really on talking terms at the moment.

As you may have read in my previous writings, I have to move some of the trees come the off season and they’ll also need their usual pruning in a month or three. But then a good decent hair cut never really did hurt anyone and the peaches are top of that pile.

All in all, I look at the fruit I have taken from the investment I made about three years ago now and I wonder, on a sunny Sunday, why would anyone want to go out and start digging the garden so regularly. Why not just dig one hole. And wait.

And in between all of this pondering I’ve got my eye on the brambles that are still in flower flowing out of the neat and not so neatly cut hedges and hedgerows. I’m reminded of my time at the caravan park in Arklow where I spent a lot of my pre-teen summer years. The pots of jam that my Mother used to make when we went picking fruit from the scrub growth I remember eating with a ladle, if I could have fitted it into the jar that is.

This was all so long before I had ever heard of growing your own, or at the very least the cliché of. I somehow seem to prefer planting my my own. Much, much easier I think you’ll agree.

Contact Peter Donegan

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