02 June 2010

"You’ll come back to my orchard, and my fig tree"

Summer has arrived, with its bouquets of Queen Anne's Lace and wild chicory, its garlands of honeysuckle and trumpet vines. I was caught a little off-guard by it, in the same way one is caught off-guard by a guest who arrives 5 minutes early. I was expecting this person, had been preparing for the visit, but. Oh. Excuse me while I finish scrubbing out the bathroom sink at the last minute.

I have two fig trees to plant, gifts from Maman. One was layered off from her own tree, the offspring of one Grandmaman had, which in its turn was layered off from one growing outside the old Navy R&D lab on the north bank of the Severn River. The variety is unknown; I do not think it is Brown Turkey. It may be Marseilles, or possibly Celeste. Whatever it is, it's a hardy and vigorous producer (two crops in a good year), and the fruit is not only luscious when fresh but condenses into jars of invincible summer when made into jam.

The other, ordered from a nursery, is Hardy Chicago, aka Bensonhurt Purple, a variety with which I am unfamiliar but about which I have heard good things.

I know where I shall put them. I am hoping for a cooler, drizzly day for planting, though I may just have to bite the bullet and take the days I get this weekend. Figs need a lot of water when getting established but the forecast is not showing much promise for soaking rains this week.

In other news, I am watching my blackcurrants like a hawk; they are beginning to ripen and I would prefer not to give the entirety of my little crop to the birds. The tomatoes are in -- three vines each of Yellow Pear and Sweetheart -- and am taking a chance on an allegedly dwarf bush-type pickling cucumber. All these are in pots because the Viking is rebuilding the raised beds and it seemed better to get the tomatoes in someplace where his work and theirs would not disturb each other.

Miguel Hernández, translated by Don Share

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