Monday, 23 July 2007

An Ode to an Apple Tree

It is with sadness that we cut down our second and last apple tree this weekend. I say 'we' - Mr. A&N did the chopping while I was the one who felt sad and took pictures. In our average-sized London garden, we inherited two apple trees - one cooking and one eating. We moved into our house in a June, and I was very excited for the autumn crop. It became clear fairly quickly that the trees wouldn't be things of un-utterable joy, though. The cooking apple tree was massively overgrown and started dropping (rotten) fruits from July. We did manage to get some crumbles and pies and apple sauces out of it, but we had to throw out at least twice as many apples as we used. The eating apple tree, on the other hand, produced crunchy, juicy, sweet perfect apples. But it only managed to produce three of them that first season.

Over the winter, we pruned the trees and read books and tried out best to buck up the health of both the trees. The following summer was more of the same as the previous summer, possibly even worse since it was very hot and dry throughout. The cooking apple tree was going to have to go, especially since we were planning a kitchen extension and it lay right in the path of the planned work. The luscious eating apple tree only yielded two apples that season, both still delicious (although I did have to battle a squirrel for one of them
, throwing things at him to get him to drop the apple he had just plucked from the branch. Cheeky bastard; he knew I was heading out there to get it myself). The bigger cooking tree came down this past winter, but the eating tree was clinging on.With the plans for the house extension taking greater shape, we wanted to move the good apple tree to another part of the garden to save it since that tree was now impeding the extension as well. Several people took a look at it and came up with the same assessment: it was too well established to move. It was clearly suffering from some affliction as well, with fluffy fungus on the branches and the leaves becoming shriveled and black only a couple of months into its growing. It really pained me to think of it going, though. I hate the idea of cutting down trees, and of losing something from the garden that had been there for decades and was a supplier of food.

The fact was, it had to go, and yesterday was when it happened. Despite it not having many flowers this past spring, when it came down there were a good dozen and a half apples growing. Most of them were already looking diseased and would not have made it to the end. But I would have loved to have given them the chance to reach maturity this one last season.


Mike Hughes said...

Hi, wow you are busy, chopping down trees, baking bread AND writing this blog! The vision of you fighting a squirrel for an apple was amusing, these London squirrels are tough little bastards. Sorry about your trees though, can you plant another?

Annemarie said...

Hi Mike - I did have some choice words for the squirrel too, when I was flinging objects at it. :) Trying to find another place for a tree but the most likely place is a bit cramped with a shed, and it wouldn't make Mr. A&N too happy if I suggested removing THAT...