Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Up the Garden Path - Looking at apple bloom

Today    was the first day I noticed apple bloom in the garden. Yes, our apple tree seems to be coming into flower. It seems a lot earlier than normal, to be honest with you. And the crab apple hasn’t had flowers yet, even though it has had leaves for a while. But still the pinkish white blossom is delightful. It sets my mind to the future. We don’t really do what the books say to our apple tree.

Now, for the best possible crop you are supposed to think the apples, and also prune them in particular ways.
We inherited out current trees in a state of some neglect, since the previous owner of the orchard kept horses which ate their bark. We replaced the horses with Hebridean sheep, which taste better but also like a bit of apple tree bark. The resulting mess means it is not really worth our time to prune the apple trees or, for that matter, to thin them out. We find the Hebridean sheep manage to thin anything out within thinning distance of the ground.

That said, even though we don’t do anything to the trees, the sheer quantity of apple trees means we manage to get a large enough crop for our purposes – which are apple juice and apple and blackberry crumble during the autumn and winter months.

One thing I haven’t noticed so far is the elderflowers coming out. They may do soon... but not quite yet. Every year I plan to make some elderflower cordial, I even have a decent recipe, but that never quite happens. In amongst weeding, cutting the grass, and sowing plants I never seem to have quite got the time to do what I want.

But I hope that will change in time.

Now, one thing I think every gardener should have at this time of year is... yes... sting cream! We have a supply of insect sting cream (brand not mentioned) and you should have too... preferably in a standard place. Because that way, when the inevitable wasp sting occurs, you are protected. When you are rattling in flower beds it is inevitable sooner or later you will get stung, or ant attacked.

So, there we go... the health warning. 

Grass cutting duty comes again, inevitable as spring gets older. But, amongst all of that, make sure you take some time to rest and recuperate in the garden.  I guess I’ll speak to you again ;)

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