An Apple a Day.

With such a cold wet spring and summer, bees were in short supply when all the fruit trees needed pollinating. We had plenty of blossom, in fact masses of it, but hadn’t realised that the flowers weren’t being pollinated, in future I will have to go round all my cordon fruit trees with a paint brush, buzzing as I go! Our Bramley apple tree was here when we came and is now rather large, far to big for me to pollinate it, but this tree at least has had a reasonable amount of fruit which we picked the other day.

Bramley apples

Apple blossom

This was the Bramley apple tree in May this year, absolutely smothered in blossom, but only a small fraction of the flowers must have been pollinated because only one basket of fruit was collected.

Bramley apples

Some of the skins don’t look too good, would certainly be rejected by the supermarkets, but inside they are lovely. Normally we have so many, we are giving loads away to daughter, DIL and daughter’s MIL, sorry, this time there is just enough for us!

Pond net

To help reach the ones that husband can’t reach from the ladder,  we use the pond net, a sharp tug against the stalk of the apple and it lands in the net, well most of the time it does, a few nearly knocked me out, only just missed!

Red Admiral

The windfalls don’t go to waste, the birds and butterflies make good use of them, there must have been at least 8 Red Admirals feeding on the apples when we arrived here to start picking.

Red Admiral

Most of the windfalls are in the shade, so the butterflies soon find a sunny post to rest on so they can warm up again.

Apple tree

Still a few apples at the top left hand corner that remain out of reach, what I need is my grandsons to come and climb the tree for us!


Do you like my basket, I went to a one day basket weaving course many years ago and this is the result. The tutor was from the Somerset Levels where they grow the willow and we all achieved various shaped baskets. It was hard work, my fingers were so swollen the next day, but worth it I thought.


When starting to re-organise the border at the side by the field, we found so many brambles climbing through my shrubs. They didn’t go to waste, that night we had Blackberry and Apple Crumble for pud!

So nice to get our food from the garden, it hasn’t been a good year for a lot of things in the fruit and vegetable garden, but the cooking apples have done well, nowhere near as many as usual, but the apples that we have are so much larger and the blackberries were a bonus that we weren’t expecting. They tasted delicious with a helping of Cornish Ice cream!

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to An Apple a Day.

  1. Cathy says:

    Sometimes it’s a relief to have just a manageable amount of fruit, isn’t it? At least you know none of it is going to waste. We have coped more easily since we heavily lopped a couple of years ago, and they are more reachable too! Lovely to see the butterflies – we have had several in the last few weeks but not earlier in the year, so I wonder if that’s been the pattern in the UK this year?

    • Pauline says:

      Very true Cathy, we don’t have many puddings these days, they go straight to the waist and hips! My one basket full will last all winter until the rhubarb starts again, 2/3 of them will be frozen. The apples are so big, I think one between the two of us will be enough! Plenty of butterflies have been here since July but not all the varieties that we normally see, no silver washed fritillaries, no holly blues, no ringlets, no painted ladies but plenty of commas, peacocks, tortoiseshells, specked woods and red admirals. Once the huge flowers were out on the Eupatorum atropurpureum, and they are still flowering, they have been covered with bees and butterflies, even on dull, windy days when we thought they wouldn’t be around.

  2. It is unfortunate about the declining pollinators, and decreasing fruit yield. On the other hand, you didn’t have as much fishing to do in your apple tree. Plus, your nice willow basket is pretty much full to the handle.

  3. Anna says:

    Last years bumper crop would have been hard to beat Pauline and sadly there were not enough bees about this spring. I’m sure that the fewer fruits will taste even sweeter for it. Your basket is a serious work of art and looks as if it was made by a professional. You must have been delighted with it.

  4. Your apples look beautiful. Personally I find shiny perfect apples a little scary these days.

    • Pauline says:

      I know what you mean Carolyn, it is a bit worrying what is sprayed on our food these days. Even though they look perfect, I always give them a good scrub before eating! At least with these being cooking apples they will be peeled and we know that the insides are wonderfully juicy and become ever so fluffy when cooked.

  5. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    The birds and insects are going to be in for a very rough autumn and winter this year with so few berries and fruits for them to eat. My garden is already bursting at the seams with birds eating from the feeders when normally it’s late October/November when they really start to descend on me.
    Barely any Pyracantha berries here, Cotoneasters aren’t too bad but will not last long once it gets cold.

    I’d love to have apples; preferably a heritage local variety, as yet I haven’t found a local source.

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Liz, the bird food goes ever so quickly each morning. Cotoneaster horizontalis was covered with berries when I photographed it recently but now there are hardly any berries left, other cotoneasters are ok so far and so are pyracantha bushes. Purple berberis seem to have loads of berries and Rosa glauca has lots of fat juicy hips thanks to the rain! The ‘experts’ say we are going to have a hard winter so I can see us having to put lots of extra food out.

  6. Christina says:

    I do miss Bramley apples, there is nothing like the cooking apples I was used to using in the UK. Enjoy what you have! I’m sure they’re delicious. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      I was delighted to find that the Bramley apple tree was one of the few things that the previous people had planted here and even more delighted when we found that we got so many apples each year. They really are delicious and so versatile in cooking.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    The apples look lovely and that is a fine basket you wove. I made a few years ago and thought it was enjoyable and creative.

    • Pauline says:

      It is lovely PBM to make something that can be used, it made a nice change for me to make something practical that wasn’t just artistic like my paintings and carvings. The apples taste lovely, they are a very old super cooking variety, we were lucky to find it here when we moved in.

  8. Lyn says:

    I love your basket, it’s a great shape. I wove a wastepaper basket once, but it didn’t have the same charm!

    • Pauline says:

      Well done Lyn, I’m sure your waste paper basket was lovely, its good to be able to make things though isn’t it? Maybe I ought to think of making something with all my willow and dogwood cuttings from the garden, now there’s a thought!!

  9. Apple crumble with homegrown apples and berries! Yum! You always make me think of my Mom Pauline, because you seem to have things in common. She is a gardener, wood carver and makes baskets too. I have a willow basket that she made in my front hall. It must be nice to have a your own apples. I love the ingenious apple picker! Have a great weekend!

    • Pauline says:

      Jennifer, I do seem to have a lot in common with your Mum, does she paint as well?! We are lucky, there wasn’t much in the garden when we came but the apple was already here and we have enjoyed lots of apples for 21 yrs now.

  10. Pauline that’s a lovely basket, at least you got some apples though I’m sure your family will miss theirs and the blackberries sound like a nice extra, Frances

    • Pauline says:

      More blackberries today Frances, so more to go with some apple tomorrow! Must start preparing some of the apples for the freezer, If I do some each day, they will soon be done.

  11. Jason says:

    This was a tough year for apples and stone fruits in my area. We had very early blossoms due to a warm March then BAM they got hit with a hard frost. Hoping for better luck next year.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks for stopping by Jason, I agree it has been a very poor year for fruit that flowered early in the year. March was lovely here too so we had lots of blossom ti start with but then it was very cold and wet , so no bees to pollinate them. We have only got 2 pears apart from our cooking apples, no damsons, no greengage, no plums and no eating apples!!
      Its good to hear from someone new, I will now pop over and explore your blog.

  12. There is always hope for next year, yes? I think we gardeners hold this more dearly than some. I love seeing your trees and trellis together!

    • Pauline says:

      Yes WMG, there is always next year, we gardeners are an optomistic lot! Let’s hope that we have a ‘ normal ‘ spring in 2013 that will bring the bees out in numbers!

Comments are closed.