To Plant a Tree

“One day is not enough to watch a tree, one life is not enough to love a tree.
I wonder when I see a new leaf, it was like a new born baby come to meet the world.” ~~ Karthikeyan V

It is high summer now and usually I would be writing about the floral offerings of July — and they are there — but this year all the interesting stuff is happening in the new mini-orchard area and in the expanded vegetable garden and in all the new construction that supports this growth.

Several new trees were planted last winter and I love to follow their growth.  This Italian Prune was nothing but a bare stick when planted in January and it is now taller than my head.

PRUNE x2

“The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil.” ~~ George Orwell

The new Fig (sorry, not a good photo) is establishing itself nicely.  These are not fast growers but will one day be bearing like its already established neighbor.

NEW FIGFIG

The Nectarine is growing nicely (that’s a Fuji Apple behind it).

NECTARINE

“Plants are nature’s alchemists, expert at transforming water, soil and sunlight into an array of precious substances, many of them beyond the ability of human beings to conceive, much less manufacture.” ~~  Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World

Persimmons, Pears, Pomegranates are all bursting with new fruit.  And, in one of my favorite moves, the strawberry bed that was ruthlessly evicted from the garden area to make room for more tomatoes and peppers, was relocated in part to the corner of a flower bed nearest the office door — right where we can graze through each time we walk past!

STRAWBERRY x2

“More grows in the garden than the gardener sows.” ~~ Old Spanish Proverb

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So Much Better When You Grow Your Own

“More grows in the garden than the gardener sows.” – Old Spanish Proverb

One of my favorite things about Summer is the anticipation of wonderful things to come…tomatoes

There are so far only a couple of actual small unripe tomatoes, but the plants are overflowing their plot and it isn’t hard to imagine the juicy red riches they are going to produce — any day now.

And, of course, you’ll need lots of basil and rosemary to go with them.

dual

“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden?” ~~ Robert Brault

It is ridiculously easy to wax lyrical about tomatoes — freshly made pasta sauce — the simple joy of a sliced tomato layered with fresh mozzarella and basil — or just a warm tomato straight from the vine– but I think the thing that provides the most anticipation in Summer is fruit.

This special feeling towards fruit, its glory and abundance, is I would say universal…. We respond to strawberry fields or cherry orchards with a delight that a cabbage patch or even an elegant vegetable garden cannot provoke.  ~~Jane Grigson

yum

Strawberries may be the perfect summer fruit — they are beautiful to look at, fast-growing, and best of all — delicious.  For real anticipation, however, you need a fruit tree.  You cannot hurry a fruit tree along — you simply have to wait for it to produce in its own good time — imagining pies and puddings and jam.

pears

persimmons2

pomegranates

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul. ~~ Dorothy Day

Eating a piece of fruit that you have watched grow from a blossom must be one of the great joys of life.  Eating it fresh and warm from the Summer sun may well be heaven, itself.  However we enjoy it, homegrown food is a blessing to be treasured.

Despite eating more than ever before, our culture may be the only one in human history to value food so little. ~~ Barbara Kingsolver, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”

The Tree of Life

What is this contradiction called a pomegranate? The pomegranate is sweet, but the pomegranate is tart. The pomegranate is tough and wrinkled, but when cut open it glistens with ruby-like seeds.  In the Greek myth of Persephone, the pomegranate is called the fruit of the underworld, yet in the Muslim Qu’uran it is called the fruit of paradise. ~ Diana Viola

There is a pomegranate tree in Ray’s Garden — not a big tree, almost more of a bushy shrub — but early  this past summer it became obvious that it was going to bear a very good crop this year if all went well.  Hard little green lumps at first, the fruits soon took on their traditional pomegranate shape.

  • Distribution: Native to Persia and the Himalayas in Northern India. It has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times, the drier parts of southeast Asia, the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe, and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona.

They began to turn pink, and then red …

They became a topic for conversation as the whole staff seemed to monitor their progress … “have you checked out the pomegranates lately?”

Not only were they growing redder, but the small tree was, by October, filled with dozens of very large fruit — ready to burst with ruby-colored goodness.

The Prince:  I do not like pomegranates.  Farah:  What is wrong with you?   The Prince:  They’re messy, impossible to eat with dignity. SO much work for a few small seeds.   Farah:  But isn’t it the effort that makes them that much sweeter?     ~ quoted from Prince of Persia

Eating a pomegranate is definitely a task that is better accomplished in the kitchen than at one’s desk.  They take work, but they are most certainly worth the effort. There are options:  We can return to our childhood and just dig in and enjoy, not minding that we become a mess in the process.  Or we can do all the work at once, near a sink, gathering an entire bowl-full of glistening red seeds to eat tidily with a spoon at our leisure.

Or — we could try something like this: www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/kiwi_salsa/  — that sure looks good to me!

The inner beauty of the pomegranate has inspired design since Biblical times, and there are some who believe it may be the fruit on the tree of life. ~ Anon.