23 April, 2008

It's Cherry Time!

The orchard is off to a humble start. We have quite a bit of sun in the yard, particularly on the west and south sides, and lots of open space, so we thought we'd give dwarf fruit trees a try. In time, they'll provide the added bonus of partially blocking off our "back" yard from the street. Because it's a corner lot, anyone walking or driving by can glance at what we're doing out back. Not that there's anything nefarious going on...

So I picked up two different kinds of cherry trees from Home Depot, and planted them in the ground. They're a good size, about four feet tall. I've never actually grown fruit before, but I have my pruning book and a pair of shears, so I'm set.

Man, that's a terrible picture. It started to pour while I was working outside, so I quickly snapped the photo and ran in. I didn't realize I cut the trunk off in the photo! Eventually, I want to cram in a dwarf apple, plum, and peach tree into the yard as well.

Hey, does anyone else out there like Robert Graves? Here's a poem he wrote, published in Fairies and Fusiliers, 1918:


CHERRIES of the night are riper
Than the cherries pluckt at noon
Gather to your fairy piper
When he pipes his magic tune:
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter
For the eater
Under the moon.
And you’ll be fairies soon.

In the cherry pluckt at night,
With the dew of summer swelling,
There’s a juice of pure delight,
Cool, dark, sweet, divinely smelling.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter
For the eater
In the moonlight.
And you’ll be fairies quite.

When I sound the fairy call,
Gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall,
Cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter.
For the eater
When the dews fall.
And you’ll be fairies all.


Jennifer said...

How soon will your trees produce fruit? Our eventual plan is to plant some fruit bearing trees as well but we may find some mature trees that will bear fruit a little sooner.

Marilyn said...

Joanne, how cool to have fruit trees - when you have enough, send it to me for pie-making!

I'm familiar with "Fairies and Fusiliers" - but something about this makes me want to ask if you are a fan of Alison Lurie or A.S. Byatt - both favorite authors I admire. Just a hunch?

John said...

I've been a fan of Graves for years, though I'm more familiar with his prose (Good-bye to All That, I Claudius, Claudius the God, and The White Goddess). I used to have a great collected works of his poems, but it was ruined when the waterheater in our old house popped.

I've never met anyone else who was a Graves fan, so it's a pleasure to make your acquaintence.

The poem does make me think of a line from Yeats, The Human Child,

"That is where the fairies keep their vats/ of berries and freshest stollen cherries"

Joanne said...

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of
weeping than you can understand.

John--I love Yeats! Thanks for brightening an otherwise rainy day with a really great quote.

I read The White Goddess back in college during my English-major-with-a-heavy-emphasis on-folklore-and-Medieval-studies days; it's probably time to pull TWG out again for another read--if only I can find which box it's packed in!

Marilyn--I'd send you some cherries, but my post lady has already threatened she'll eat them all on her route, so there'd be none left for any of us! I haven't read either Lurie or Byatt yet, but there is a book of Lurie's I've wanted to get: Don't Tell the Grown-Ups: The Subversive Power of Children's Literature.

Jen & Stan--I'm such a newbie at this fruit-tree thing; so for now, I'm faking it. I'm not sure how soon--or how soon I should let it--bear fruit.