Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 1 August 2008

GBMD - Tiddly Pom Pom Pommes

Scrumptious (yes that's the name of the variety) finally looking like how I've imagined they'd be trained over an arch - on my plot yesterday

I spent my allotment time yesterday dealing with some of my pommes. Firstly, I finally got around to digging up my first row of first early potatoes, aka pommes de terre. Well, I did plant them late, so digging them up late's OK too. They're a variety called Harlequin. I grew them for the first time last year having received 5 freebie ones and when blight hit our plots in June (stunningly early indeed), these were the last ones out of all the plots to succumb to the dreaded fungus. They still produced a decent crop - clean and with no slug damage. Their flavour's wonderful - tasting like they've got butter on them even when they haven't, so they're a better bet for the waistline too!

That was quite hard work in yesterday's humidity, so I then decided to do one of my favourite jobs of the whole year, thinning and pruning my apples - the other pommes! I just find it such a soothing and calming thing to do, safe in the knowledge that I'm going to get a lovely looking result and much better fruit in a couple of months time. The fruit set's been spectacular this year, and even the steady accompanying plop, plop, plop of the natural 'June drop' lately (which always continues into July), hasn't been sufficient to thin my apples out. About a hundred tiny apples found their way into one of my compost bins. Don't worry - there's 12 trees to thin and there's plenty more left.

I'm training my trees as cordons or over arches, so pruning them to encourage plenty of fruiting spurs in the summer is needed in addition to the traditional late winter pruning. I'm always worried I'll get it wrong, so I take this 2 page guide with me, plus my even shorter aide memoir - click to enlarge the photo if needed. So I spent a lovely half hour finding the third leaf up after the basal rosette of leaves on each branch over 8 inches in length and snipping away with my secateurs. Unfortunately it came on to rain as I was doing this, so I'll have to go back another day to complete the job. I don't mind though - it's something to look forward to.

So for Muse Day it seems appropriate to have found a poem that celebrates my anticipated harvest to come - so much better than my bad poem from last year ;)

The Apple's Song by Edwin Morgan

Tap me with your finger,
rub me with your sleeve,
hold me, sniff me, peel me
curling round and round
till I burst out white and cold
from my tight red coat
and tingle in your palm

as if I’d melt and breathe
a living pomander
waiting for the minute
of joy when you lift me
to your mouth and crush me
and in taste and fragrance
I race through your head
in my dizzy dissolve.

I sit in the bowl
in my cool corner
and watch you as you pass
smoothing your apron.
Are you thirsty yet?
My eyes are shining.

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day is hosted by Carolyn Gail at Sweet Home & Garden Chicago.


  1. The apples look great. I've go Scrumptious in the front garden, growing as a minarette, and they live up to their name.

  2. My apples have been dropping for a while. I cant wait to eat them. Yum

  3. Pruning is very soothing isn't it.
    By the way feel free to use my jars of Glutney photo.

  4. vp ~ Your apples look great and that's a great poem in tribute to them - very racy!

  5. I love the apples - what I good idea, if only I could find somewhere to incorporate it!

  6. That's an inspirational post VP. I shall take my secateurs to mine on Monday.
    And I can personally vouch for the loveliness of the potatoes too.

  7. why did you put your potatoes on the lawn? I thought that photo was of (sorry) maggots to start with - until I looked up close. I think maybe teaching is making me lose my mind?

  8. Ditto - I came across a whole load of reddish egg things in the cyclamen bed the other day which were a similar shape and I thought I was about to find out what they were (I couldn't immediately work out the scale for the potato picture).

    But maybe I was already in a ready to be put off mode because I find summer pruning scary. I'm always worried it will bring on too much new leaf growth. And I hate taking away apples. Maybe I wouldn't mind if I had as many as you. So, sometimes it gets done - and sometimes it doesn't.

    (Perhaps if 'Tom Thumb' tasted as good as it looks, I might be more assiduous, but the flavour is horribly bland and the texture not great.)


  9. Oh about the potatoes being on the grass . . .

    When my father married my stepmother I made the wedding cake. The ingredients were so vast and tempting (fruits and spices and different kinds of sugars) we took them all out onto the lawn in separate bowls so we could photograph them. (Didn't have a flash.)

    Just as we'd got them all nicely laid out, a man came up the drive to say he'd taken an aerial picture of the house and garden, would we like to buy a copy? He couldn't take his eyes off the bowls but didn't like to ask what on earth we were doing.

    I was sorry he'd not flown over to take his photo while the 'ingredients' were there!


  10. Great poem, VP! My mouth is watering for fresh apples already. I am not nearly as knowledgeable as you about taking care of apple trees--my husband prunes them, and I just pick them. Glad to know that "June drop" is normal, though. I've had quite a few fall to the ground the last few weeks, but the branches still are full.

  11. Hi everyone - glad you like the look of my apples - can't wait to try them :)

    And I'm so glad you like poem too - a discovery I wouldn't have made without Muse Day :)


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