Thursday, February 14, 2008

I love my apple trees

The fruit of love, the apple tree.

I've been wanting an apple tree in my garden since I was a child. Apples are my favorite fruit, I eat one almost daily. Now that I have a nice large garden, I am finally able to grow two apple trees of my own. Neither is self pollinating, so it was necessary to have two. Even better!

Going through the seasons.. here are the pink flower buds before they open in mid April.

And more opening later during the month.

Mid May, they still flowering nicely. I can see the pair of trees out of my kitchen window, so can admire them as I wash dishes.

In early June, little apples begin to form. As they get larger, many fall off on their own, making room for the healthiest to grow on.

Finally, apples are large enough to start picking and eating! The branches are so heavy with apples, I had to prop them up with old christmas tree branches to keep them off the ground.
This is the cooking apple tree. Very large and slightly sour, but mostly sweet. With a most lovely blush of red on bright green apples. I have lost the labels, and can't remember the names of either one, unfortunately.

The eating apple tree has lovely red apples, very sweet and juicy. We bought both of these trees from a local nursery. The owner was the sweetest man, talking to us of oak trees and grape vines and wild fuchsias. Of apple trees, he only had these two there at that time, so we had no choice but to get these. I had brought with me a little list of ones I might like, but he had none of those.

Anyway, I am very happy with my two trees. In their third year, they produced an amazingly large crop of apples. I ate a red one off the tree every day for a couple months. The birds were especially fond of these as well, as you can see in the picture, they have pecked it to bits. And the cooking apples were used in various dishes, my favorites being red cabbage and apples, stewed apples with spices and raisins, egg-soaked bread baked with sliced apples and cheddar cheese.. But my most favorite way of using them was cut up in oatmeal.

Oatmeal, raisins, apples, water, milk.. cook it up. Then in the bowl with a knob of butter, a little bit of brown sugar and lots of cinnamon. That was my breakfast for many cold winter days, till I ran out of apples.
For a few weeks after I ran out, we had bought several types of apples from the shops. They all tasted like cardboard to me, so I went without for several weeks. Then one day, my craving for apples had me eating one of the store-bought cardboard apples, and it tasted fine. Puzzling.. I might have gotten used to the fresh taste of my own apples off the trees, and store-bought apples just didn't compare in taste. Till time went by and my tongue forgot.

Here is one of them draped in webs, I think it was only a year old here, during September, when the air is filled with flying baby spiders.

And here is one in winter, in the company of a snowman.

A little bit of apple lore:
In ancient Ireland, the apple tree was known as one of the Seven Noble Sacred Trees, of which the apple was the most noble. It is said that apples were the food of Celtic Gods.
The word "Avalon" comes from an old Irish word meaning "place of the apple trees". Avalon, sacred Isle of the Apple Trees, was the place where King Arthur of legend was taken to heal his wounds.
Apples are used during Samhain (also known as Halloween), to ensure an atmosphere of trust and friendship.
Apples are also an important ingredient in love spells and healing spells.
Apples are known as the symbolic fruit of love. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, has the apple as her symbol.

So.. as today is Valentines Day, it seems appropriate to praise the apple tree.
Love and apples to you all.

March festival of the trees will be at Orchards Forever. She will have a special theme of fruit trees and orchards. For more info, see Festival of the Trees.


Blogger Frances said...

Thank you thank you for a wonderful Valentine's Day post. So much new information there, about the lore especially, I am very interested in that. Do you have to apply oil or anything to protect the fruit from worms getting inside the fruit from the flowers?
Frances at Faire Garden

February 14, 2008 2:41 pm  
Blogger Salix Tree said...

I don't apply anything to the apples or the tree, all it gets is rain. Early in the spring, I put several shovelfuls of compost at its base. But no oil and no spray. Completely natural. And there are no worms. ;-)

February 14, 2008 2:58 pm  
Blogger jodi said...

Frances is right--this is a great, informative post. Good on you for not using anything but compost on your tree, either. There are wild apple trees around here which we just let do their thing--they provide a few tasty treats for the horse and donkey, if the deer don't get them first, and i'm going to add a flowering crab this year just for its colourful fruit and flowers. But I don't bother with growing fruit because it's just a little too inclement here when the winds blow in off the Bay.

February 14, 2008 8:30 pm  
Blogger JLB said...

What a delicious post Salix!

February 15, 2008 3:15 pm  

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