Apple harvest

artur pool bankLittle and large. You can’t imagine how long it has taken me to find the names of these fruit. But just a few minutes ago there was a whoop of joy which woke the cat. I had to rummage in a folder of 2008 garden notes.

We are indoors in the afternoon owing to some rather annoying rain out there. I was trying to chip branches down by the stables.

Artur was sitting on the steps that lead from the track down to the stables watching me work.  And every time I turned off the machine he tried to climb on my lap.  There was no lap unless I felt sorry for him and joined him on the stone steps.  But I really wanted to get on.

But with the rain coming down we have both retreated inside. And just to make the Artur fans happy, here is the visible proof he was in cat heaven in the sunshine by the pool bank wall earlier.

He has tried all sorts of spots to snooze in this unexpected turn of events. The keyboard here on my desk is his favourite place. In the middle of the action if you will.  But he gets annoyed by my exasperated hissing and the strange noise the machine makes when he keeps stalking over the keys.artur stalking

What he would love to do is sleep on my lap. But that’s not going to work. So he has gone off in a huff and is snoring on the soft linen bolster on my spare bed.

We have the heater on and all is well.

And I have the names of the fruit. (I did rather degress.)

The large apple you can see is Blenheim Orange, and the little ones are Winstones.

I bought them back in 2008 from a nursery called Blackmoor in Hampshire in England.  And in all those years, they have never fruited.

Trust them to produce delicious apples in the only year when the climatic conditions were at the most challenging.artur office

These apples grow way down on the lower terraces in poor soil and note this, are never watered by me.

So I feel like mounting these apples on a plinth and exhibiting them in a village hall. Brilliant fruit. Even if the tree has only produced one Blenheim Orange and a handful of small Winstones.

But they ought not to grow here at all. I was still in thrall to English gardening back in the very early years of this farm and garden. Some of the apple trees from that original order are still with me: a Discovery and a James Grieve. But the Fastaff was munched by a deer, and the Court Pendu Plat died of thirst in its very first summer.

Now I buy my fruit from a supplier of old Cevennol and Ardêche varieties; but back then, ah the bliss of ignorance.

And I have also leaned my lesson awinstonebout any trees that now go in the ground. They are watered well once a fortnight in their first year.  And sometimes in the second year if there is a drought.

And I make sure I can get a hose to reach the trees.  The mistake I made with the lower terrace trees was forgetting to see if a hose would reach all that way down the farm. It didn’t. So they missed out on the watering.  They are getting some today. But they are never going to turn into the trees you would see around Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire in England. I assume that’s the origin of this tree.

Yep. My apple is also called Dempster’s Pippin found in 1740 in Woodstock near Blenheim Palace if I’m to trust an untrustworthy source (I loathe Wikipedia). It’s a cooking apple. And was crossed with Ribston Pippin to create one of my favourite tart eating apples Cox’s Orange Pippin. So I’ve learned something.

I’ve also learned that Artur’s snoring is very, very annoying. It is loud and makes his lungs rattle and I worry he is going to expire with every breath. He also sleeps with his head downhill. Is that wise? I don’t dare wake him up to move him in case he thinks my lap is available for claws.