Sunday, June 10, 2012


Forty kilos of apricots and more still on the tree but inaccessible because the ‘Pride of Madeira,’ not realising how big it would grow, was planted too close, making it impossible to get to some branches. The shrub itself is not only enormous but so beautiful with its huge rosettes of bright blue flowers, quite spectacular, but there are still apricots on the branches above it and littering the ground below. Having used all the fruit we could, carrier bags full have been given away to friends and neighbours and, in exchange, we have had more than a dozen eggs and fourteen litres of olive oil. The second apricot tree that ripens a little later is already laden and fruit ripening so there’s another bumper crop coming and the fruit on our one and only plum tree is also about ready. Its branches are so heavy with fruit they are practically hanging vertically. That too needs severe pruning later in the year. We did have two plums in the garden and a different variety in the courtyard but one died and the one in the courtyard developed a fungus and had to be severely cut back so no fruit from that this year. I see the avocado has flowered so maybe we’ll get some pears later and the prickly pear is laden. That too will have to be severely cut back but the big problem with prickly pear is what to do with the bulky cuttings? It is the most amazing plant. Leave a leaf or a portion lying on the ground and you can be sure it will eventually take root. When Douglas and I came back from Italy some years ago, where we went in search of family history, we brought Chris a bottle of prickly pear liqueur; I wonder if I can make a prickly pear wine. Don’t see why not. Actually, on second thoughts, I think I’ll confine myself to the next lot of apricots. There are already nine demijohns of homemade fruit wine waiting to be bottled.
Douglas always had trouble starting the old petrol driven chain saw so bought himself an electric one and the nectarine has finally been cut to a six inch stump. Not only that but he has cut down an enormous fig taking up much too much space under a walnut tree and there is a month’s supply of wood from it; not this next winter maybe but the winter after. The trunk is a good five inches or more across. It was laden with fruit but unfortunately it is a male and the fruit is inedible, otherwise it wouldn’t have been taken down. We do have another, a winter fig. It is unbelievable how big everything has grown in the garden all of which needs drastically cutting back. I brought some seeds from Australia like nine years ago and the tree I planted is now something like forty feet high! We have also, having cut down the fig, found a good place to plant my loquat I have grown from a pip. It is the loquat season at the moment, unfortunately a very short season, just a couple of weeks or so, and I do love them, one of my favourite fruits.  The mature tree we already have seems to have developed that fungus as well and what fruit there is is grey and shrivelled so nothing from it this year. Greeks call loquats moosmoola but the Cretans have to be different and here they are called thespoola. It’s no wonder my Greek is still so poor, even after nearly sixteen years.
Everything is bone dry at the moment and we desperately need rain. The days can come over cloudy but soon the clouds disperse. Some shrubs are looking very dodgy and although we have a watering system it doesn’t seem to get everywhere. Guess it’s watering can and hosepipe time and summer is only just with us.

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