I am not a fanatical gardener. We had a large garden once, and I was utterly overwhelmed by the maintenance required by yours truly during the working week – lovely to spend time together with my spouse pottering around getting dirty or meditatively weeding, but alone? No, I had plenty of other things to occupy my time!
However, I did become quite good at remembering Latin plant names and the wide range of plants that can be found in a garden, read a lot of excellent gardening books – I had my gurus! – and over the years, came to appreciate any number of different garden styles. My own taste has moved on from the bright colourful Victorian kitchen garden of the 90s to a much more formal, subdued and geometric liking for box topiary, textured leaves and a lot of white. My present garden is very small in comparison, but over the last few years, we’ve been able to get it pretty much where we want it to be and although my predilection for dark red seems to have gone paler pink, it’s a pretty and relaxing place to be and affords us much pleasure.
Never, however, have I had any yearning to grow vegetables. Herbs, yes, fruit even, if all I need is to pick it, but veg seems to end up with rotten tomatoes and overkill in giant zucchinis, so it’s never been an urge of mine. Our next door neighbour, whose garden actually sort of fronts our property, has a vegetable garden that is a veritable pleasure to look upon and that is enough for me! As a more traditional gardener, he is also interested in more traditional types of produce, and it so happens that a fruit tree hangs over our fence that is more unusual – a mirabelle tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirabelle_plum
In the last 7 years, this is only the second time it has fruited enough for us to profit, but after the first taste a few years ago, I’m looking forward to this afternoon’s tart… thank you, kind neighbour, for offering us a punnet of these!!
On another side of our property, a different neighbour once planted three scrawny little trees. One of those I’m fairly certain is an ornamental cherry, which blooms profusely, if a little oddly (tightly clustered around a main stem, mostly) with double pale pink blossom. The other two, I had assumed, were also a kind of ornamental cherry, and I never gave them another thought. This year, however, when they blossomed and developed a much bigger, broader outlook – over our fence – as our very late spring came on, I realised they’d grown into rather substantial trees. And after returning from holiday, it was obvious that they were covered in fruit – small yellow orbs that seemed to confirm my theory of their species.
Now that fruit has begun to drop, and it most definitely is neither purely ornamental nor a cherry! In fact, only one tree is dropping yellow fruit, while the other is pouring a purple harvest onto our grass that looks much more like a plum – a very small plum, the size of a large cherry or grape. These appear to be edible, but are probably going to be more successful turned into some kind of tart or jam, so that will be interesting. So far, not many yellow ones have fallen, but as the fruit attracts wasps, I took upon myself to go and pick up whatever seemed “useful”. I don’t think they’re damsons, so my new mission is to find out exactly what they are – by which time, I’m pretty sure they will all have been eaten… yum!
For now, I just think it’s rather picturesque to have a small harvest LOL!
Duh – initial investigation suggests that, not surprisingly, these are probably “cherry plums”!