Archive for the ‘The home orchard’ Category

Have had some wonderful blog posts all formed in my mind, but they have stayed there… It happens when I’m gardening. Beautiful words and thoughts form as I weed and plant and till the good old soil. What I need is to write it then and there, because by the time I finish in the garden, I don’t want to go on the computer. They don’t go together well for me. When I’m all doused in nature, the call of the keyboard grows faint and is easily ignored.  Oh well.

This spring is so full of growth – I have watched the cherry blossoms burst into intense pink glory, dissolve into a carpet of pink snow upon the path, and now rot into brown mush. Must be time someone swept I guess. Under the cherry blossom and extravagance of old bearded irises sings loud and bright, there were sweetest lily of the valley before, sending wafts of perfume everywhere.

this iris bud fell into the fallen blossom. After the photo, I placed it in a water bowl, it opened and shone for a couple of days before shrivelling into a crinkled, crepe thing.

I have picked the largest rose I ever saw, a Mr Lincoln, and more are coming. It’s of course a classic velvet crimson thing, and was a gift to me from Patsy Hollis, who loves roses and words, and to whom I mentioned my fondness for Mr Lincoln. The roses I grow are all gifts, except my Iceberg, which I bought because I was feeling left out of Hobart’s obsession with iceberg roses. Coming along is Pierre de Ronsard, recent gift from the garden of a wonderful friend who thought she was moving, so gave me her roses, then changed her mind, but lets me keep them. Two x Pierre to adorn the brand new rather raw fence, and a couple of David Austens about to reveal themselves.

Soon I go to India. Some travellers are coming to mind house and garden. I hope it can be their

Light on Columbine

haven for a while, and that from its kind welcome they can go out exploring Tasmania, returning to the gentle realm of the garden. There will be raspberries soon, and the goji berry has flowered! We will see if it comes to anything.

The fence is also about to be clad in PEAS, which are climbing nicely and will feed the houseminding travellers, and hopefully Scarlet Runner Beans, the shiny deep coloured seeds of which are planted, but not yet up. Will they come through before I go?

I have a million photos to show you, am just uploading a couple. At least I have written.




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Well I’m back from my Garden Writer’s Tour of Northern Tasmania with stories to tell! But more recently I’m just in from my own garden with dirt under the fingernails and a belly full of berries. All that driving and visiting left me soil and weed deprived, but now I am content. You see,  I reclaimed a path which got lost while I was in India (see blog 1 Paths are for People…). The path, which runs between two veggie beds, had been left in the care of one teenager and one ex-teenager.  I refer you to blog 2 (concerning the resemblence between teens and nasturtiums). I scraped away weeds, I discovered hidden gifts, spread satisfyingly old compost, and planted bright new broccolini seedlings, which sit there now, full of hope and wonder at the feel of the endless earth beneath their tiny roots.

The gifts were a sweet surprise. Last winter a kind friend gave me some Lloyd George raspberry canes. I had just been reading up on varieties and had LG marked out as an old fashioned one to look out for, then having been in my thoughts, they suddenly arrived in my life. I didn’t expect fruit this year but little bursts of flowers have been appearing and this is my second taste of raspberries that collapse like an offering of  pure flavour and softness in the mouth that is blessed with their arrival.  Then low and behold I lifted up my new gooseberry bush which had developed an unplanned lean and there hung a shiny round fruit! I had always thought they needed cooking with sugar and then chilling with custard to be edible but I sucked out the smooth innards of this one and it was very good! Maybe next year we’ll make gooseberry fool like my mum used to, when the bush is better grown and my picking bowl is filled.

I haven’t nearly finished all there is to tell but I must away to an opening. It’s of interest to you – a new book shop in Hobart – Just Tassie Books. All books are by Tasmanian authors. It’s an authors only event, so I got an invite and Bob Browne is doing the opening honours. Speaking of books, if anyone wants to buy Beyond Organics, I have quite a few box fulls and am a lousy distributor but good at filling orders when they do come in. I sell them cheaper than the shops… let me know if you need any… it’s still a good book.

A bientot, will be back tomorrow with photos and travel tales.

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Today's harvest

Down the back I go, bowl in hand, gloved and shod. Down the very back, where the wild things are…

Once upon a time I went into K & D, (anyone in Hobart knows what that means – impulse buying at the hardware store). I went to the plant section, which has a way of drawing me down its aisle on carefree days, although I should know better. On this occasion quite a few years ago, I emerged from the checkout with a collection of fifty cent pot plants – you can understand the temptation. They were a mixture of bramble berries, looking tired of being in a big shop – boysenberries, thornless blackberries, other similar things whose names have faded away. They looked half dead but I knew it was just that they were going dormant, and my investment has certainly paid itself off many times in bowlfuls of luscious fruit.

I recruited help to put in a reasonably respectable trellis – posts and wires in two nice straight lines. The ground was dug, the plants went in and winter came. I resolved to prune and tend them as they deserved, to keep them under control and fed and watered and mulched and in order. And at times I have, at times I have. And at times I haven’t. They grow very well in this climate, bramble berries. They started to take over neighbouring garden beds and the nice straight trellis disappeared under layers of leaves, long-armed vines, many prickles and in summer, hidden bunches of fruit, deepening in colour as the long days go on and on. The nice straight trellis sagged and seemed to give up. Overcome by the power and enthusiasm of the unstoppable growth, it seems to have merged and become one with the plant, renouncing individual identity, living an undercover existence. But I know its structure still matters.

I have long since forgotten which are which as the plants blended like clouds. I am freshly back from today’s picking adventure. It’s a matter of diving the hands in, placing the bowl under the bunch, and lightly caressing the black fruit so that it falls in without splattering. The blood-coloured juice disguises the scratches on my arms. I wish I hadn’t worn a white hat when I shove my head into the depths having sighted some particularly plump ones just a little further in…

The air is warm, the bowl is full, my mouth is red, contentment spreads like the bramble berry vines, sprawling uninvited into any and every corner, crevice, nook or secret inaccessible place within and without. I find an old bird’s nest with a remnant blue egg and leave it there. I thank myself for my winter labours when I did in fact clear, cut and cajole the canes into some sort of helen-style order. I thank the good rains of last year for filling the soil with real water which is now harvested in sweet soft capsules of fruit. I take the bowl and head up the hill. My walk to the house is interrupted by a young nectarine tree proud of its first crop, and by various wildnesses I strive to do something about on my way past, and by hoses that need repositioning. Eventually I make it the computer. I have been blogging in my head the whole time I was picking.

Going into the garden is always fruitful.

Charlotte's nest

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