November 26, 2007

Apple & Saints Part 2- Pomologie

A Recipe for growing an Orchard in Gascony

  • 12 trees
  • 12 holes to dig
  • 1 sunny afternoon rimmed with rain clouds
I have learned to dig holes for trees here in France; large wide holes and deep enough for roots to reach for good soil. The Garonne Valley soil is strong with clay and likes the compost I have been ignoring for a year behind the garden shed. When I found Camont in 1989 the large parc was an apple orchard overgrown with brambles 20-feet high into the trees, ankle-attacking nettles and razor wire blackberry. The long-neglected apples were removed leaving a park of oaks, walnuts and fragrant acacias. Little by little I started giving back the trees I took away in a pretty game of enclos and joalle to keep a picnic place under a shady oak within smell of the spring blossoms. There is lots of wild mint and an a nicely unruly hazelnut hedgerow. I have a dream of a gypsy caravan parked in that wild mint.

2007- Twelve more trees make over 3-dozen fruit trees all bought from the Conservatoire des fruits d'antan; twelve more arm-waving sentinels to preserving the older tastes of Southwest France.

Oh, and those twelve holes... It took all afternoon to dig, plant, water and stake the 8 bigger trees- with a little help from Bacon. It isn't just that the birthday week makes me feel older, the digging confirmed it! Tomorrow I'll decide where to plant the pomegranates. Now what to do with all those sweet apples? And then a recipe...


winedeb said...

Gosh, I can just smell all of those apples...that photo makes me just want to roll around in those. Cannot wait to see what you do with ALL of those!

Kate Hill said...

oh the smell! I meant to mention that as I walked into the greenhouses that served as receiving rooms, the scentcloud was mouthwatering of ripe apples and spices. What a wonderful welcome to the conservatory! and yes, I keep flipping back and forth between two good ideas, might have to make both!