The joy is in the small things

For me, these lovely old nails in the garden wall are a joy. They are, from a horticultural point of view, incorrectly placed. They are too short, which means that the wire trained through them is barely an inch off the wall. Insufficient light and air will circulate behind the espalier fruit trees tied into them, pests and stale air will follow…never a good thing in the garden.

Poor Alasdair, taking advice from his helpful friend at West Dean Gardens, has been told he will have to be all the more vigilant in the Spring. His work load already being that of many hands, he has taken this on board with equanimity. He does draw the line at the old wire though, which snaps when touched, so the hunt is on for a metric wire to fit through the eyes of these nails, each one different, each one being hand made.

In the meantime the espalier fruit trees are arriving: nectarine ‘Lord Napier’, trusted and reliable; a donut-shaped ‘Saturn’ peach, so easy to eat; a ‘Stella Compact’ cherry, a modern, Canadian variety  which does not really suit the ambience of the place but is self fertile and so will help the older variety ‘Merton Bigarreau’ , which I have also ordered, to pollinate. I had really wanted more cherries, but Jason hates them, so it seems cruel. He also hates apricots. But as I don’t, I have ordered a lovely old variety ‘Petit Muscat’. Not for me the commercially successful, reliable and flavoursome ‘Flavourcot’. How could I grow something with such a hideous name? My tree will be picky and unreliable, but with that clear, downy colour I associate with the fruit. The modern varieties seem to me too large and rosy cheeked. My apricots will be small, with no shelf life, so we will gorge for one heady week and then they will be gone.

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