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Three greengages

August 3, 2013 2 comments
The three greengages

The three greengages

A combination of wet weather when the blossom was out, and general reluctance on the part of the tree, means that we have only 3 greengages.

I invented this little ditty to sum up the situation:

“Greengage, greengage, have you any fruit?”

“Yes, Ma’am, three, but they’re not for you.

One for the blackbird and one for the jay,

And one for the little bug that crawled in today.”

We’ve had good crops of apricots, nectarines and peaches this year, and hopefully will of pears, but apples and plums are a dismal failure.

Baby nectarines

May 9, 2013 Leave a comment

I’ve been a bit worried about the nectarine tree which had a hefty dose of leaf curl this year.

It also flowered just when the weather was wet and windy and there wasn’t much chance of pollination.

It’s never been a big fruiter: the nectarines it produces are wonderfully sweet and juicy, but small and few in number.

However there are a few coming along this season.

The first photo was taken a fortnight ago. The second photo (of a different cluster) was taken today.

A newly-formed nectarine

A newly-formed nectarine

A different cluster, one of them overtaking the others in size

One nectarine is getting quite big

Same old story

May 5, 2013 Leave a comment
Olive trees have their own beauty

Olive trees have their own intrinsic beauty

This morning our geometra introduced a man who was supposedly interested in looking after our olive grove as a going concern.

He was elderly, with a tracheostomy which made it difficult to understand him.

We established the bottom line very quickly: he’s willing to prune the trees if we pay him, but he isn’t interested in labouring in exchange for the harvest.

Having told our geometra very clearly what we were looking for, this was disappointing.

Properties are still valued in terms of how many olive trees there are on them, the whole region is obsessed with olive oil and how precious it is, and yet the yield isn’t enough to cover the expenses of cultivation.

Olives can’t be called a crop, I pointed out. It’s all hype.

Neither of them disagreed.

To mow a meadow

April 29, 2013 2 comments
A patch of grass in the orchard

A patch of grass in the orchard

I love the orchard grass before its first cut.

It’s so full of gem-like flowers, and even thistles are still tender and innocuous.

Chokri has already strimmed round each tree but left the grass in between, which is important so that the anemone in the middle of the photo, for example, can set its seed.

But it’s just about time to cut it all down, before the act of strimming becomes too strenuous.

I always find myself mourning a little, but the next growth isn’t long coming through.

Apricot flower

April 2, 2013 Leave a comment
Apricot flower

One of two apricot flowers open

There was the briefest window in the weather yesterday – just long enough to get the pink bud spraying done.

It’s always a compromise: too late for some trees, too early for others.

This apricot tree just got in under the bar – it had two flowers open; this was one of them.

The raindrops and the two tiny insects seem almost too much for the fragility of the petals.

Poor year for nectarines

March 29, 2013 Leave a comment
In bloom despite the weather

In bloom despite the weather

The nectarine tree is determined to bloom.

This is in spite of the fact that no self-respecting bee would venture out to pollinate in this wind and wet.

At least the blossom is pretty.

In fact I’d grow a nectarine tree just for that, even without the possibility of fruit!

The rim of the pool

March 9, 2013 1 comment
Roman atmosphere

Roman atmosphere

The rim of the indoor swimming pool was, until yesterday, occupied by the’ wedding cake’ inside steps of the outdoor pool, laid on their side.

But yesterday the steps were carried up to the new shed.

They weren’t put in the shed because they would have filled it; instead they were hidden behind it.

By complete serendipity, about half an hour before we moved the steps, the dustmen came by and complained their vehicle was bashing our tree and would we prune it. We were able to use the steps for this purpose on their way to the shed – perfect!

To reward myself for all this planning and labour, I put two terracotta pots on the rim of the pool to complement the marble fish mosaic.

Now we have a Roman bath!