21st June 2021.
The Moorpark Apricot Tree.
I feel like we have just said goodbye to an old friend this morning, but it was an old friend we had said goodbye to a couple of years ago that bought up these feelings of sadness and loss. It was also melancholy, remembering the fond memories of sitting with a very young Lil on a hot summers day, the Moorpark Apricot the only tree big enough to give enough shade. Lil and I would pull the garden bench and picnic blanket under its branches. Lil would make a hammock for her doll. We would spend our afternoons in the shade of the tree, reading, playing games, working on craft projects, our flock of Mottle Pekin Hens pottering about us. The sweetest of days. You see her childhood and her life changed due to doctor’s negligence when she was twelve and her life before this happened, well they were pain free and I do get very emotional when thinking about it.
I knew the Moorpark Apricot tree had become too frail and needed removing. The possums had damaged its branches and slowly but surely the tree was dying, measuring 7 metres wide by approximately 5 metres there were diseased branches on the south side of the tree and it would spread. I knew removing the Apricot tree was the right gardening decision to make yet I had put it off for three years. Michael’s question to me during afternoon tea one day stopped me in my tracks. Knowing me too well he asked “Without worrying about any logical reason, what is the emotional attachment to the tree?” I proceeded to burst into uncontrollable tears.
Yes, Michael was right, it was emotional attachment that was holding me back from making wise gardening decisions. I had stood in front of that Apricot Tree with my elderly friend and he had patiently explained to me how to prune it in one, two and three years time. My friend had wanted to make sure I had the knowledge to carry on caring for our fruit trees after he had passed on. Our Moorpark Apricot tree and his Moorpark Apricot tree had been the topic of conversation each year around blossom, fruiting and harvest time.
The Moorpark Apricot tree was planted in our Back Orchard 11 years ago, more fond family memories. I remember the day we planted it, Michael and I positioning it along with some other fruit trees we had bought to establish a small heritage fruit tree orchard. Nine year old Lil had played close by, the small flock of hens pottered about us and Rosie the Australorp hen took every opportunity to hop in the holes we were digging to inspect if there were bugs and grubs that she might like to eat.
The Moorpark Apricot tree had fruited well for a couple of years then it started to look more and more frail and so I made the decision. Michael held my hand as I burst into tears, again, while we talked to the arborist and now with the area cleared there are new plans but the memories are always there. My life is richer for these memories. We have planted a young apricot tree in the middle of the new garden bed in front of Lil’s garden studio.
The garden here at Fairy Wren Cottage is woven into our little family’s history and for that I am thankful. Thankful for the people we share it with, the time we share together in it and the memories we will always have moving forward.
Garden blessings to you.
Sending Light and Love, Jude x
Garden Postcards: An Apricot Tree Story
September 2, 2021