In a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall moment, Mr T suggested a plum harvest. Imagine, he said, gazing into the middle-distance.
Harvesting is a rather romantic notion given we inhabit 632 square metres of suburban Christchurch. Nevertheless, I can picture it: friends, ladders, children and animals underfoot, basket-loads of juicy red plums, and, most especially, the merry-making that follows.
|Picture lanterns suspended from the tree's canopy above, |
with the house all lamp-lit and inviting in the background.
| Need to move the larger outside table from 'around the back' |
to here, to accommodate all those hard working harvesters, a.k.a 'friends'.
It was the complete embracing of the River Cottage ideal that lost me. There was talk of annual harvests where we would serve produce from previous yields - plum wine, plum preserves, plum jam, plum pud - and not only during the January harvests, but also as gifts throughout the year. And so began the packaging discussion, branding look and feel, conversion of yet more garage space for all things plum...
And this from the couple who get the man in to mow their peggy-squares of lawn. Needless to say, I am resigned to watching the plums fall.
Fortunately, bees don't go for such angst. They just get on with it.
So lovely to have a colony (or two) of bumble bees take on our hidcote blue lavender this summer. From mid-December they have come dawn 'til dusk every fine day. The side path has been alive with the hum of their wings, and the boy-child has been fascinated and remarkably gentle. (Three children, two adults, three cats, one dog and not one sting.)
Given the plight of bees around the world, it is reassuring to see so many alive and well in our garden. At times, the blue of the flowers has been almost obscured by gold-flecked black. (Unfortunately, I didn't think to photograph that wonder.)
But I notice the bumble bees are slowly leaving; fewer and fewer have arrived to go about their daily work in the past week. Honey bees seem to be taking their place. Perhaps it's indicative of bee hierarchy; the larger bumble bees get first dibs. Whatever the real reason, I'm just pleased our little patch has proved such rich pickings.