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A garden enthusiast who loves to travel and capture the beauty of places and freeze the memories of her travels in photographs, as well as document her experiences in verse...thankful for the simple pleasures in life.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Sweetest Of Gardens

Remember that I was waiting to lead you up this garden path in my previous post?
This garden gate opens up to my sweet L-O-V-E Garden - full of everything lovely to eat!

Now you know my secret… I have a secret love in my backyard. A Little Orchard and 
Vegetable [Edible] garden (hence the acronym L-O-V-E) in my backyard. Why ‘secret’? 
Well firstly, it had been in a pathetic non-productive doldrum for the past three years 
when I first began planting fruit trees . I have two mango trees – one a chokanan and 
the other only known as ‘my brother-in-law’s neighbour’s mango’. Then I put in two 
longan trees – one I named ‘Vicki’s Longan’ since the tree was transplanted in its teens 
from Vicki’s garden into mine, and the other was a longan tree which I had suspected 
was a tobacco plant and not a longan tree when it was young, as it did not at all 
resemble Vicki’s longan tree! However, the garden nursery lady whom I had bought 
the plant from, had vouched for that longan tree’s ‘genealogy’, so I curtailed my plans 
to chop down that barren tree. I planted a guava tree that attracted white cottony 
flying insects. Next, I brought in a rose-apple plant that was only about three feet tall 
when it started bearing tiny rose-apple fruit which were rather sour. It did not deem 
it necessary to produce any more fruit for the next three years. Then I added a citrus 
corner in the backyard where I planted two lemon trees, two lime trees – (locally 
known as limau kasturi), one kaffir lime tree (limau purut), one of another type of 
lime tree ( limau nipis), two mandarin orange trees imported from China (one of 
which met its demise due to the harsh condition of the hot, dry season here which it 
was not used to in its country of origin; fortunately its hardier brother survived). I also
had four soursop plants but only one is still standing today. See why I had nothing to 
shout about considering this shameful state of events in the desolate country of my 
backyard? Even the passion-fruit which were my pride and joy in the beginning , 
producing perfect round, dark green fruit dangling from the pergola, succumbed to 
disease and had to be humanely put out of its misery.

However, the grapevine which I had planted, had filled me with great expectations. 
My grapevine had actually begun to fruit when it was in my front garden, twining up 
my 7-foot high pergola. I would excitedly usher everyone who visited me, to my 
‘vineyard’ and point out to them the miniscule green clusters of grape flowers. Everyone 
would get caught up in my enthusiasm and exclaim at the discovery of each bunch of 
adorable young grapes, green in colour in its infancy. When the grapes grew into delightful 
dark red clusters of luscious perfection, no one had the heart to pluck even one grape. It 
was not because the size of the grape was too small (it was really small- one cluster of about 
sixteen grapes would fit into an espresso cup!), it was because they were too adorable to be 
table grapes. They would probably be more suitable for the bottle, although I estimated that 
my first harvest might yield a thimble-full of rich, red wine. I only tasted my first grape when 
I noticed that the birds were pecking at them – not necessarily feeding on them but just pecking 
at them till they fall to the ground…the grapes I mean, not the birds. It was definitely time to 
pick the grapes… I tenderly washed each delicate grape and put one in my mouth. It was the 
most…sour grape on the face of the earth. I had produced the proverbial sour grape! Not just 
any plain sour grape, but the world’s tiniest sour grapes. Needless to say, to me they deserve 
another superlative – they were the darling-est grapes, the sort that dreams are built upon.

I have since transplanted the grape vine to the lower pergola in my backyard. They have not 
begun fruiting again, but this time I have given them a different soil condition, and a shady spot. 
I still harbour dreams of plucking tantalising sweet grapes from my backyard, despite the history 
of that desolate country I have been relating to you.’ Why, foolish gardener?’, you might ask.

The answer is this – it is the dawn of a new age in that no-man’s land behind my house. When I 
returned from my travels abroad, I discovered to my unsurpassed joy, that both my longan trees 
had burst forth with flowers! My lime trees are covered with limes, my lemon tree which had 
so far produced one fruit at a time, now has five on the branches. The rose-apple tree which 
had been prolific only with leaves are now producing beautiful flowers. My guava branches are 
bending heavy with fruit. Although the mango trees have not shown any sign of flowering, it is 
a time for celebration! It is a time to be thankful for Nature’s bounty. I am deeply touched.

My picture gallery below says it all…never abandon hope as Nature has a way of healing the 
vegetation and repairing the land, with the help of Man’s willing cooperation.

Like sparklers lit up in the night, these rose apple florets lit me up with joy when I first saw them.
These wrinkly, tough skinned kaffir limes hang from the tip of every branch.
One of the five lemons I am waiting to savour in a glass of refreshing lemonade.
The tobaco plant that grew into a longan tree.
To some this is just a part of a green tree, to me this sprout is hope personified.
The prettiest grapes I've ever grown. I admit it, I'm biased.
How I long for a bumper crop next year.
New home in the backyard for my darling grapevine. If you look closer you can see a bunch of green grapes hanging there. Do not be is not real. The reason I tied it there is to demonstrate to my grapevine the correct size its grapes are expected to grow.
Nothing excites me more than to see did they get so perfect?
An abundance of limes from my citrus patch.
The guava have to be wrapped to protect them from fruit flies.
Sweet, sweet taste of success!
The last of the passion fruit left on the plant. I have new plants of two varieties now in my backyard. Estimated fruiting time...February next year.

Posted November 27, 2010 by mygardenhaven1 in Categories — Edit
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11 responses to Up this garden path…

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  1. Wow, what bounty. You must have been so pleased when you returned. I love your new home for the grape vines. It is so creative. Your list of chores is never ending, I hate to say. Not much sitting back to relax, especially with all the fruiting you got going there.
  2. Hi Donna,
    There’s actually plenty of time to sit back and enjoy myself…the chores do not have to be on a daily basis, and all I have to do daily is whisper words of encouragement to the trees so that they are motivated to perform! Haha …just joking.
  3. Wow! thats a lot of fruit trees you have in your secret garden, Im amazed! That was a nice suprise to come home to with bountiful harvest…should go away more often then :)
  4. How exciting to see all these luscious fruits in your own backyard! I had to laugh at the sour grapes, though; I would join you in a glass of your homemade lemonade, but I think I’ll pass on the grapes:)
  5. Rosie, I am jealous of your lime and guava fruit! Those fruit are exotic for me! I understand your feelings toward grapes. I never thought I could grow grapes. So, now when I have them in my garden, I am very proud, although they are sour and nobody can eat them.
  6. Rosie, It is so fun to move from my strawberry/blueberry/raspberry land to your lemon/lime/guava paradise. Carolyn
  7. Lucky you with all those limes and lemons! They look fabulous. Cute gnomes.
  8. Hi Tatyana,
    I had a tip from a gardener who grew grapes in the highlands in Malaysia that before we plant a vine, we should add 1 kilogramme of brown sugar in the soil.
    Try it,
  9. I am so glad to share with you the joys of the fruits of your labour of love. I am sure they are extremely delicious.

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