Friday, August 14, 2009
I am thrilled to welcome a "follower" to my blog. And no less, a distinguished and appropriately named visitor than my new friend, Peaches.
In my garden, I have a lovely little peach tree, a dwarf that I bought several years ago after researching a story for the magazine about orchards and fruit. I was amused then to learn that the reason early settlers grew apple tree orchards (and thus the huge popularity of Johnny Apple Seed) was because they were making an alcoholic mash, a hard cider, to wash down and abet their daily trials and tribulations. Of which, they had many, since they couldn't run off to Whole Foods for sushi if they didn't feel like cooking.
My peach tree, which grows just about two and a half feet tall, delivered the first year that I planted it. Its stout, little branches heroically supported two enormous peaches at the end of the growing season. I picked one before it was ripe, because we were going on vacation, and left the other on the branch. I put the fruit in the car and we packed off to Rhode Island. That peach got toasty warm on the back deck. And in the parking lot before boarding the ferry to Block Island, the four of us each took bites, passing the fruit around. It was deliriously delicious. I can't ever remember a peach that tasted so good, not before or ever since.
When we got home, the other peach had ripened and some back yard critter thief had taken more than enough bites that we couldn't have any ourselves.
The next year was the year that the gypsy moths invaded. An army of them marched up the peach tree's slender trunk. Their soft, clingy bodies made everyone shudder with horror, and the usual live- and let-live principles of a mindful gardener were abandoned. Over the fence the neighbors discussed and planned the coming apocalypse for the invaders. But by the time, we got down to reading the label about the horrific chemicals and toxins that we were aiming to set loose into our backyard havens, the gypsy moth mass had defoliated my peach tree.
No peaches came that year.
And fortunately, we neighbors came to our senses and we abandoned our plans to permethiate with pesticide our gardens. The gypsy moths naturally met their demise in the beaks of a host of hungry birds, and nature's natural boom and bust came and went. But still the next year, the remaining few warriors of the gypsy moth contingent ascended the peach tree and once again rendered it fruitless.
This year, its tiny peaches dropped early. I don't know why or what offended it. Perhaps it was storing up energy to fend off the expected assault. But for whatever the reason, my peach tree, though peachless, is looking ever so robust. And the gardener, ever hopeful, looks to next year. So welcome Peaches to my blog. The Putterer
P.S. The picture above is a dahlia and has nothing to do with peaches. It is just a fabulous photo masterfully created by my daughter, P, and taken just a week or so ago in my garden.