Clive and I often watch tv programmes about independent gold miners operating on sea beds or remote mountains. Their labour, if successful, yields a mass of gold flakes and nuggets.
The gold particles from those enterprises look just like the foliage around us at the moment: same irregular shapes, same shades of colour, same mix of dark and pale.
Looking out of a window surrounded by leaves is like looking through the gold frame of a painting.
The only question is: are we looking in or looking out?
The cherry tree in the foreground of the photo has had a successful year. I wasn’t there to see it, mind – I was in France – but I heard that it produced a quantity of good-sized cherries.
Durone di Cesena cherries are delicious. I’m sure the birds were glad of them.
As if reluctant to finish its splendid season, the tree is now the last one to let go of its leaves.
Even the apple trees, which fall without turning colour, have sparser foliage.
Sometimes cherry tree branches are weighted or tied down to make them grow closer to the ground and therefore more accessible. This tree doesn’t seem to need anyone to do that; it’s developing low-hung boughs all by itself.
Intuitively, Chokri strimmed round this plant in the middle of the path knowing I would want to preserve it.
Its leaves are highly aromatic but not with the usual sharp, clean, rosemary-like scent of so many Mediterranean plants.
And the flowers smell pungent, peppery, strange.
I looked it up first in my flower book and then online.
Eureka! That’s what it smells like! Curry!
Which is why it’s called the curry plant.
It has nothing to do with making curry, but the oil from its blossoms does have plenty of medicinal uses.
It’s also claimed to be a cat deterrent!
Yesterday I went to see how the almond tree was getting on.
I was horrified to find that most of its leaves were full of little holes.
My immediate reaction was to blame pests – maybe even the few small snails which I found on the twigs.
It being at long last a dry day, I started spraying the tree with the pesticide it should have had after flowering but never got.
As I sprayed, I noticed that a lot of the holes had formed in the centre of brown blotches.
Was it a fungal disease?
I added fungicide to my spray; the tree was now getting the full treatment it had missed out on.
Indoors, the internet confirmed my suspicions; the diagnosis jumped out at me: shot hole disease.
The fungus is spread by rain splashing on the leaves and takes hold when the weather has been continually wet.
The disease has caused most of the almonds to shrivel up, although those which have developed properly will, apparently, be quite normal.
Our last crop was more than 400 nuts; this year, if nothing further happens, there’ll be about 30.
It sounds quite nice; you can have oak leaf wine after all. But it’s not so nice to swim in.
The mammoth oak by the house sheds its catkins, and the wind plonks them straight in the pool.
Yesterday it was like bathing in noodle soup and in no time at all I had a mass of the things in my fishing net.
Today the wind had veered and took a lot of them into the skimmer basket.
I’m glad we have the pool closed when the oak sheds its leaves!
Last year our little pip-grown grapefruit tree suddenly grew a dramatic vertical spike.
I believe it might be what you call a water shoot.
Well, after much reluctance and procrastination, I finally did the terrible deed and cut it off level with the rest of the tree in the hope that it would bush out and stop looking like a giraffe.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ve been vindicated because tiny buds have appeared in the axils of the leaves at the top of the remaining spike.
The photo shows the topmost one.
The young rose leaves are blowing like flags and being torn by the wind.
The fruit blossom is wan and ragged and unvisited by pollinators.
But the weeds are having a whale of a time.
These are the whorled leaves of a sun spurge – so pretty it’s almost not a weed.