Rotten apples

by Pippa Greenwood

Thank heavens for apples! We had a fantastic crop of apples this year, despite the fact that many of the trees are not that well established.

Fallen applesThank heavens for apples! We had a fantastic crop of apples this year, despite the fact that many of the trees are not that well established. The apple tree I have mentioned before, as being a great ingredient for tarte tatin or what we call 'Dutch apple cake' really surpassed itself and made me wonder how we'll ever do without it. It was the tree that, having been bought in error, was on far too vigorous a rootstock for the spot where it was 'temporarily' planted five or six years ago.

We've been enjoying the fruits for months. Several cinnamon dusted apple cakes have been made and frozen, with the remaining apples to be eaten raw or left for the birds. Cut in half and wedged on to cut stems on the ancient hornbeam hedge along our drive, they provide a brilliant pit stop for the blackbirds, thrushes and robins.

The great thing is that the hedge runs alongside the bay window where we eat most of the family meals, so we get to enjoy their feasting as we eat. The hedge has been there for years - I suspect forty or more years, judging by the size of the 'trunks' inside the dense network of twigs. It provides a great roosting spot, hiding place and now doubles as a five-star cafe. I suspect that our postman is now convinced that I have definitely lost the plot - he was rather concerned once, when we had been here a few years and still had no washing line, to see me drape some laundry over the hedge, now it's rotten apples!

Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Rotten apples
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Gardeners' World Web User 04/01/2008 at 00:00

Re Diana Mitchell's comment on Jan.4th. I thought I was unique!! My oriental poppies were also flowering at Xmas, and I live in the "frozen " north-east of Scotland. Surely we are experiencing definite signs of climate change. So much for the sceptics.

Gardeners' World Web User 04/01/2008 at 00:00

Here in the Scottish Borders we're in the middle of a wintry period of snow and ice and the birds are finding it tough to get enough to eat. Why not check out your apple store now and put out any damaged/ rotting ones for the birds. They won't mind the condition of the fruit.

Gardeners' World Web User 05/01/2008 at 00:00

i read your article on 'rotten apples' with some trepidation, having recently fractured my ankle and tibia on rotten apples/wet leaves whilst getting carried away with picking the glut of apples to make a dessert. no-one has been out to recover the apples collected and can only assume they are well and truly rotted.unfortunately i can't put a health warning on this innocent form of activity but perhaps a high profile celebrity like yourself can regularly remind those fruit pickers of the hazards that lay out there esp. at this time of year.

Gardeners' World Web User 08/01/2008 at 10:10

Poppies, poppies everywhere, but interestingly I have only one snowdrop!!

As to slippery apples, the answer is to pick them promptly, or at least get them off the ground rapidly...on to the hedge or large bird table if you cannot eat them all, then there won't be any slippery-potential to slip on! Hope the ankle is feeling better though, you poor thing!

Gardeners' World Web User 08/01/2008 at 15:37

We too had a fantastic apple year. I saw a grey squirrel making his way through the apple trees, to realise a few minutes later he had gone to the topmost branches to retrieve a huge eating apple. He settled down at a branch junction and tucked into his booty. I think he'd been there before - they were the only apples we couldn't reach left!

See more comments...