Keep off our fruits

Protecting fruit from predators can be just as frustrating at times but we do enjoy a lion’s share of most crops.

The strawberries have suffered more from the wet weather than blackbirds foraging near the edge of netting.

Gooseberries, red, white and black currants are going reasonably well and it has not been necessary to reach for nets because our fruit picking is ahead of the pecking. However, the first raspberries are coming up to ripening and, like Wimbledon on a wet day, it’s time to put the covers on.

The fruit crop that has given us most pleasure so far came from a Peregrine peach (pictured left) growing in the greenhouse. Covering each early spring flower with a fine brush to encourage fertilisation then watching fruits increase in size, certainly cements ownership.

Daily watering and occasional feeding is also part of the process. Then the unmistakeable fragrance that comes with ripening.

Believe me, they’re not difficult to grow under cover, and we’ve been without one far too long. Sometimes It’s the smallest thing that appeals to gardeners.

Two years ago, a maiden tree of the new apple Redlove (pictured right) arrived by mail order, little over one foot high and a single, grafted stem. Now it’s up to eye-level, and this spring produced a first deep-pink flower display followed by three fruits that have weathered recent storms. I inspect them each day like a mother hen guarding chicks and cannot wait for maturity to discover whether they are indeed red to the core!