My Bramley apple tree is the Old Lady in my garden. She has been there longer than we have and she knows all there is to know about :
She sits quietly in the corner of the garden, covered in lichen, embroidering her blossom which she exhibits in the spring. In the summer she becomes Lady Bountiful with her abundant yield.Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,- John Keats -To Autumn 1820.
Her boughs, heavy with the fruits of her labour, bend over, forming arches through which you must pass to enter the rest of the garden.If you do not show enough respect, she can be cantankerous and poke you in the eye, or clutch at your clothes with twig fingers as you pass. So you need to bow to her knowledge as you bend beneath her boughs.
Grown from years of sustenance and nourishment from the soil, she offers her perfect wonders for the picking. Knowing when the time is right to impart her presents, each bough will give a gentle sigh when a gift has been given. You may need to twist the apple slightly to gain the prize, but if she is ready to give you her produce, she feels relief as she passes her results on and the movement of branches upwards is like a silent kiss.
The apple tree is called the 'Tree of Knowledge' and rather like an old lady she has so much information to give and pass on.
I love this quote from one of my favourite Cookery books: Jane Grigson's Fruit book.http://www.amazon.co.uk/Grigsons-Fruit-Penguin-Cookery-Library/dp/0140469982
When an orchard in Brittany was picked ,one last and best apple was left at the end of the highest branch.If it clung to the branch until all the leaves fell in the autumn winds,there would be a good crop next year....
Quite often, the best information in life is the hardest to obtain and it is only time and age that can develop and impart this. Sometimes, we have to strive hard to harvest this knowledge.
Then there are the blackberries. They creep around the garden, extending their tentacles like snakes as they clamber and slither through trees and bushes. Their blossom like tiny stars against a green sky. Their fruit, juicy globules of black raindrops waiting to burst in your mouth.
My Mother's words accompany me as I pick the blackberries, for yes, she is in the garden with me. Her starlight gift of a magnolia stellata and a cherry blossom tree of rememberance . Never pick blackberries after the 1st October as 'Old Nick' has spoiled them .
Now mix these two together- blackberries and apples. Make a crumble, and make it with love . Use your hands to combine the flour, butter and sugar, gently rub together to the perfect consistency. This is wondeful comfort food, a gift from the garden with the promise of delicious tasty secrets hidden beneath a golden-brown counterpane .
I commit my own original sin by writing in cookery books , leaving evidence for my Daughter that I Live to Eat, not Eat to Live.