Friday, August 15, 2008

The bitterest pill

You can’t see them in the photo of the front garden (see a previous entry) but I have three small columnar apple trees hidden amongst the exuberant herbage. And because they are hidden amongst the herbage, I should cherish and nurture them, and feed them, and love them, to make sure that they don’t have too much competition and don’t get overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, real life got in the way of the desire to do good, and I didn’t quite get around to all the cherishing, nurturing, feeding and loving that I should have. And so, last night, when the Grenadier cooking apples told me very forthrightly that they were ripe (all on the tree when I went to work in the morning, all on the floor when I came home in the evening), I discovered that the fruit had bitter pit. Reading the RHS advice, perhaps extra feed wouldn’t have helped, but watering would have. This makes sense, as the tree in question is within the shadow of the house to a certain extent, so may be sheltered from the voluminous quantities of rain we’ve had this summer. A foliar feed of calcium will help, too.

Bitter pit sounds like something out of a Victorian romantic poem. Last night as I was turning the best of the fallen apples into puree, the phrase ‘O, thou bitter pit’ came into my head. And so, with deep apologies to William Morris, I have adapted a short piece from his Story of Orpheus and Eurydice (with apologies to the sensitivities of James Alexander-Sinclair, who has banned VP’s delightful poetry from his pages):

‘O, thou bitter pit,”
She cried, “and shall I feed, and shall you grow,
Is this then all the gift that thou wilt give,
Your fruit, ripe but marked?”

I will have to make it up to them with a good ‘wassail’ in the winter.

I’m sitting at work with the first of the ‘Scrumptious’ apples (their name, but also a good description – I hope…), which I picked on the way to the car this morning. It’s looking good on the outside, so hopefully it has escaped the disorder. I hardly dare eat it – it looks perfect. No frass, no wasp nibbles, no codling moth. Gorgeous. In fact, they’re looking so good, I might have to enter them into the Emsworth Village Show, a village show with a difference. This is being run from 15th to 30th August by Emma, with entries arriving thick and fast already. The show is being run in conjunction with VP's grand garden opening in aid of Water Aid, which runs from 15th (today) to 21st August. Go along, make a donation, and have a nose around VP’s beautiful garden!

1 comment:

VP said...

HM - I too have 2 Scrumptious on my allotment and they truly live up to their name.

I think I can safely leave the poetry mantle in your much more capable hands whilst I 'negotiate' a truce with James ;)

And thanks so much for the link to my open garden and your generous donation. How's your training coming along?

Have a great weekend