Monday, 17 December 2007


December is a time of anticipation in my mother's garden as all the fruit are growing and some, such as the apricots, are beginning to ripen. Every time I visit her we go and inspect the fruit trees and talk about things like when we will need to put the bird-netting on, how she is going with her coddling moth control and how many mangoes there still are.

She keeps her trees very small, otherwise the fruit would all be out of her reach. The Moorpark and Trevatt apricots are colouring well and there are hundreds on these small trees.

Coddling moth is her biggest problem and she has found that the best method of control is hanging tins in the apple and pear trees into which she puts port. The local bottle shop have her down as a cheap drunk, I think, because this time of the year she is always there getting flagons of the stuff !

This year it looks like there will be a bumper crop of mangoes as, once they get to a certain size they usually don't fall off. Last year was a bit lean but the previous year she had 40. I haven't counted the trees but they include: about 6 apples - all different, 3 navel and 1 valencia oranges, 2 or 3 plums (satsuma and others), 2 different apricots, 2 Elberta peaches, 1 fig, 1 grapefruit, 1 lemon, 2 mangoes, 1 banana (new), 1 feijoa, 2 nashi, 1 packam pear and probably something I have forgotten.

All year round there is something to pick - now it is the valencia oranges and next will be the apricots.

She also grows a few vegies, like peas and asparagus and tomatoes and lots of flowers like sunflowers and ranunculus and bulbs of so many different varieties. Living on the original Torrens flood plain means the soil is exceptional - that's why all the market gardens used to be near there when I was a child, and the water table is very high. This means that once the fruit trees get their roots into that they grow like there's no tomorrow and rarely need watering, even in this drought. It seems, though, that the water table is lower because there are parts of the (unwatered, yet green) lawn that are sinking.

I have put a few more photos in the photos link. It is no wonder that she is so bright and lively at 85 because she eats more fruit than most families, including mine !

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Kate, please thank your Mum for the walk around her garden.So much yummy delicious fruit. The string around the base of the netting is a great idea.