The Cottage Smallholder

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Plant trees to invest in the long term future

Lemon tree detail

Lemon tree detail

Years ago my friend Sylvia said to me.
“The Fosdykes have their 50th anniversary coming up and we’re planning to give them a Judas tree. What do you think?”

My head whirled. I had just been given a weeping tree that I did not want. A tree can be a great present if..
a) The person has space and
b) The person actually would like that particular tree.
So my response was.
“Do they have an established garden?”
“Well yes.”
“Do they have the space for a Judas tree?”
“I don’t really know.”

Recently my friend Jo pointed out the blossom on her apricot tree. Our apricot tree is still in training for blossom – they can take between three and six years to fruit, so I was a bit envious. She then showed me a mulberry tree that she had just planted in her orchard.
“I know that I probably won’t taste the fruit but someone in the future will enjoy it.”

I’m ashamed to admit that I put the first friend off giving a Judas tree as a present. Twenty years ago I was very much a member of the ‘now’ generation.

Jo’s mulberry tree got the thumbs up from me. Investing in future generations. I still remember that taste of the fruit from an ancient tree in a London garden when I was in my twenties. The dark fruit were delicious and slightly decadent in size. The stains on my hands and the gluttony as I climbed the thick lazy trunk to harvest more.

This morning a tall mysterious box was delivered. It was a surprise present from Danny. A big well established lemon tree. Covered in flowers and tiny green dolls house sized lemons. There is also an almond sized lemon! I’m a lemon fiend. I get through at least seven a week in citron pressé (freshly squeezed lemon juice with water and sugar/honey) and in my long cold vodka each evening.

Danny was thoughtful enough to include both summer and winter feed for the tree to give it the best possible chance of survival. He’d discovered the lemon tree on the Crocus website  – half price. It’s really huge – so a real bargain but as times are hard a generous present.

Will it be there for a future generation? Well I certainly hope so.

Now I’m thinking about a mulberry tree. I might just be able to pluck the fruit for a few years but investing in future generations is the main drive. I’ve had so much pleasure from the old apple trees that were already established in the garden when I arrived so why not continue the tradition?

So thank you Sylvia, Jo and Danny. You all encouraged me to actually think about investing in the long term future when I’m dead and gone to the great kitchen garden in the sky.

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  1. Thanks for the tip about the lemon tree. I ordered one in the week and it turned the next day. They are big plants aren’t they!! I was delighted when I saw it.

    I recently planted a mulberry after having similar dilemmas to other people about the length of time it would take to fruit. Six years later, still in the same house, I finally bought one. Mine was already 3/4 years old and over 5ft tall so hopefully it won’t take long to fruit. I wish I’d done it years ago now, but they are an investment tree and you have to develop the mindset that you might not be there when they fruit. Walnuts are the same.

    I’ve just added a Stella cherry tree to the garden as well. I found it in Homebase this morning for only £10 (£8 with the bank holiday discount) and it’s a whacking great 6ft tree!

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