Friday, 17 August 2012

I See Your Blackcurrant And Raise You A Bay Tree



What the bay tree will look like, if it survives to maturity

Incidentally, I know what a pitchfork looks like. I can correctly ID a garden fork. What I don’t know is how I traversed to the shop intending to purchase a new garden fork, but returned with a pitchfork. 
Oh. Um. I linger over the mistake. 
Ultimately, we don’t need a new pitchfork. This embarrassment must be tackled. Nip back to the farm supplies shop. ‘I’m having one of those days.’ I speak, blithely, as though this muddle is phenomenally common. Everyone in earshot enjoys the story. (Maybe this is my till-side debut?)
We need a new garden fork because the previous occupant of that position is snapped in two, whilst uprooting blackcurrant bushes from the old fruit garden. It’s not an opportune moment to move currant bushes, according to the Fruit Expert calendar. It’s a moving house dig it up or lose it moment. It’s a fruit gamble.
We also pack into the car the red and white currant bushes, the raspberries, the blueberry, the loganberries, a bay tree and an azalea. And two grown ups, the new garden fork, one spade, two snips, one billhook and a spaniel.
Roots wrapped in rubble sacks, the bushes are laid close to the hedge, lest they be stolen by the insurgent wind.
‘This will be your new home,’ I explain, ‘hold your nerve, if you want to see better weather.’
That was yesterday’s toil.

A classic 3x2 blackcurrant formation


Today we dig holes in the clagged earth, under heaving slants of rain that hit precisely the angle required to run a system of rivulets inside collars and sleeves. Mud platforms my boot soles, unevenly. My right side is two inches taller, until I kick clumps all down the drive and a little bit on Dog. After lunch, a hillock of sludgy clothes builds in front of the washing machine. The sink looks like I’ve dumped coffee grounds in it. After we wash our hands, the soap needs washing. Re-clothed, the desire to be under the rain again is difficult to find. Only in deference to yesterday’s efforts do we re-tie our boots. This is the only way the fruit gamble can pay off. 


4 comments:

  1. Fingers crossed for the currant bushes. With all respect to old garden wisdom, my experience is that plants are very resilient and put up with a lot of unorthodoxies. My Grammy always said that plants needed to be trod on to grow strong. That's my wisdom passed on.
    I'm afraid I have no idea of the difference in the forks. I know what a pitch for is but I'd have to guess at the other. No doubt I'd have brought home the wrong one!

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  2. Best of luck with the fruit gamble! The Great Scot peeked over my shoulder and read the words 'black currant' and sighed over paradise lost, black currants being in short supply in this part of the States.

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  3. A pitchfork has curved prongs for gathering up straw; a garden fork has straight prongs for ease of being pushed into the ground. Still rolling my eyes at my own self for being so absent minded!! All the plants had a good stomping in, and Grammy's know best- the currents do look quite pleased with their new location.
    A short supply of blackcurrants is definitely to be sighed over! Commiserations to The Great Scot :-(

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  4. You really connect with the earth.

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