apples and plums

It’s a bonus year; the plum that turned out to be an apple fruited for the first time (see The approach of Autumn) and the plum that we planted to replace this also fruited. In fact it overdid it and I should have stripped half of the plums off in early summer. We have had several colander’s full already.

Victoria plum

Victoria plum

The weather has jumped from August straight into October, with gales, hailstorms and temperatures barely in double figures. The remaining tomatoes are very unhappy.

Last week while I was having a writing hiatus, it was too miserable to work outside, so I started ambitious insulating projects in the house. However a break in the clouds sent me out and I spent some spare energy taming an old Forsythia hedge. I may have overdone this a trifle, but it was completely covering the bed beneath. I have to admit it is looking very unsightly now. Never mind, it will get up and go again next spring.

Forsythia tamed

Forsythia tamed

The dwarf Blenheim Orange that we planted several years ago to replace another one (a giant 60-year-old hollow tree with mistletoe, but inclined to drop branches), is now really established. It’ll be another month before the fruit is truly ripe. I know because I ate them non-stop as I was waiting for Eleanor’s birth. Happy days!

Apple Blenheim Orange

Apple Blenheim Orange

Bee bath and stupid garden bargains

We moved a funny old home-made brick urn into a flower bed and filled it with water, to match a similar one that we use as a bird bath. We’ve not seen many birds, but it is in full use.


In January 2009 I succumbed to an offer – a so-called Garden Bargain mini Orchard. I received three bare-rooted named fruit trees: a Moorpark apricot, a Victoria plum and a Sunburst cherry – all guaranteed to flower and fruit in the first year. I planted all three, but was concerned about the resin oozing from a wound on the apricot – I was told to report back again later in the year. Neither the cherry nor the apricot flowered in year one. The plum flowered; it looked remarkably like an apple, but as a late frost wiped out the blooms, I couldn’t prove it. The apricot continued to weep, but I had to agree that it was still alive.


Year two, still no flowers on the cherry or the apricot. The plum was definitely an apple, but the fruit fell in a late frost before I had photographed it. The apricot was still alive and its wound beginning to heal. I stopped making any attempt to contact the vendors.

Year three – nothing. We moved the apple and bought a Victoria plum.

Year four – March 2012. The not-plum apple flowered well and set fruit, the new real plum flowered, but did not set fruit. The cherry had a couple of blooms, but no fruit. The apricot flowered, looked stunning, and set some fruit. Late frosts again wiped out all fruit.


Year five – three blooms on the apricot and no fruit. The new plum, the not-plum apple, and the cherry flowered and have growing fruit. I can’t wait. I have no idea what kind of apple the ‘plum’ will turn out to be.

Lesson learned.