A month of fruit trees
31st July-27th August
The meadow is changing. July and the long acre is dominated by meadowsweet and angelica. The grasses, taller than me in June are falling back, folding in on themselves and the trees I planted in spring are fighting to take their place.
Most of the birch trees I planted down here have survived. Some are close to 4 feet tall. The oaks on the other hand have been struggling, I can only pick out a few and I fear the rest are lost.
Cleavers, a plant which we called “sticklebacks” when I was younger, and most probably threw it at friends when they weren’t aware, has got its own back on me. It has become rampant everywhere down here. When the dogs run into the wilder parts of the garden they come out decorated in tiny green balls and this wild plant is attaching itself to the mature trees and snagging on the apple trees in the orchard. The orchard has always struggled. We planted these trees about 18 years ago, at that time not really knowing what we were doing. We planted them in an area that was open to the elements and an area where brambles became very opinionated and wanted their sharp points to be noticed everywhere.
These last few years we have been trying to save this little band of fruit trees. We have “Wassailed” them two winters in a row. One event led to the pear tree having had its first-ever fruiting. This year the discovery apple tree has given us a modest amount of fruit, for the first time in years. The alder trees planted themselves around the circumference of the orchard and they have become protectors, shielding the fruit trees from the winds and every spring now I cut back swathes of winter bramble before it has a chance to choke the Jonagold and the dessert apple tree (which has never fruited) at the back. In the spaces where brambles have been removed, this year, cleavers, have won out.
So I have made the decision this autumn to add some new fruit trees down here, bolstering the Calendar Road Tree Project with some edible additions, as well as, adding more spring blooms. So one tree for each week of August – and taking us almost to the halfway point on the tree project!