Thursday, 25 March 2010

Bonfire II

Although amongst the dried, dead wood there was a good deal of green material, including the yuccas, the bonfire burnt with spirit, subject to invigorating gusts from the light breeze.
This image shows a similar long view of the back garden as the previous photograph although my father and the cat are both absent.
There are four apple trees in the "apple tree plot", all dessert apples, two of the trees originating from around the time in which the house was built, so they are now venerable trees of eighty years or more. Visible in this photograph, on the right of the image near the path are the "Ergremont Russet", next to it, and only partially in sight, the "Laxton's Fortune", and beyond both on the left of the image, the "Charles Ross". Out of sight, next to the "Laxton" is the "Tideams Late Orange". Further down the garden is a "Bramleys Seedling", also planted when the house was new. At one time there were nine apple trees in the garden, but they age and fail, and some have had to have been removed. Each year my father has pruned the trees with care and love, having taught himself how to do so from a book on the fruit garden, " The Fruit Garden Displayed". The book was first published by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1951, and is one of two volumes, the other being, "The Vegetable Garden Displayed". I have my own copies of both of these titles, although mine are somewhat later editions ( 1965, or 1968). The volume on the fruit garden has comprehensive chapters on the pruning of fruit trees, and fruit bushes, illustrated with wonderful photographs and diagrams. From this book, my father meticulously taught himself to care for the apple trees that came into his possession with the ownership of the house and garden.
This year he has completed work on the "Tideams Late Orange", and the "Ergremont Russet", the two smaller, younger trees in the apple tree plot, and has begun pruning the "Laxtons Fortune", one of the older, larger trees. Progress depends on the weather, and the light; it is difficult to prune on a dull day, one needs to be able to see well.
The Bramley, at the other end of the garden, has grown immense, and three days work is required to complete the pruning.
Afterwards all the long timber, representing a season's growth, is collected, and removed to the bottom of the garden to be burnt on a new bonfire.

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