I don’t remember if I have ever written a complete list of the fruit trees in our garden. I know I have mentioned them individually now and again so here is the complete list which I am sure will raise a great deal of interest and only goes to show I have very little else to talk about. At the far end of the garden there is an ancient pear tree. Goodness only knows how old it is. The bole is a good two foot or more in diameter. We occasionally get fruit from it if the ants don’t get there first. There are two apricots, one fruiting in the summer and the other autumnal, four walnut trees, nuts dropping like hailstones at the moment, four olive trees, a black mulberry, a quince that has given us masses of fruit every year, an avocado pear, three lemon trees, a nut-peach, a winter fig laden down right now, prickly pear (also masses of fruit at the moment), a yellow plum, a guava and a strawberry bed. Everything needs to be frantically cut back. It never ceases to amaze me how plants flourish on a shallow layer of topsoil over volcanic rock and when the rainy season is so short and the summers so fierce. The prickly pears are sweet and always remind me when a small boy of holidays in Port Elizabeth and my Aunt Marie rubbing butter on my fingers to get rid of the hairs when I was careless enough to handle them. There is also a mature nectarine tree American friends gave us about five or six years ago but, as I think I said before, that is due for the chop as it has never given any fruit and develops peach curl every year. It will be replaced with the loquat I have grown from seed.
In the small lower garden there are two varieties of orange, a loquat, and a white mulberry and in the courtyard a mandarin, a red plum, pomegranate, grapevine and another orange. The oranges will be ready for Christmas.
In the current economic climate it’s good to have all these and a Cretan said the other evening, if you have walnut trees you can live off a diet of nuts bread and salt. It might very well come to that.
The last two years we’ve let the vegetable beds lie fallow (except for the flourishing weeds of course) but before then we had tomatoes, peppers, green beans, peas, zucchini, carrots and pumpkin. I don’t know why the English don’t eat more pumpkin. It really is a delicious vegetable and pumpkin soup is out of this world. Even tried sweet potatoes at one point but that was a failure like the apple tree I planted. Apples, like parsnips, evidently need cold winters and we don’t get them cold enough here.
It’s now fifteen years almost since we came to live on Crete and it, as well as Greece, has changed enormously since those early days. It’s still a beautiful island though and, as Douglas once said; even if everything were to go pear shape it will all have been well worthwhile.