Pruned the orchard carefully one freezing winter's weekend last year, not a task I took lightly. I read book after book, practised in my head, on paper, then on an actual tree.
We took especial care of this particular apple, the one with the most delectable red fruit, dappled gold shoulders and crisp white flesh.
By October, things were looking gooood. Really good.
Then it completely stopped raining. It's been a bit of a disaster, this summer.
Well, let's step back a little. It's been difficult, but not altogether a disaster. There's been no fruit for us, as we, once again, left the fruit to thirsty rosellas and grey currawongs. It's been brutally dry and I thought they deserved something.
The vegetable garden's had some incredible successes, though. Hello, tomato-fest! Hell-oo zucchini madness! Perfect conditions for a Mediterranean vegetable garden.
I never have any trouble keeping up with zucchini. Gardeners often moan about the glut, but not me. No way. There's so much to do with them, a recipe for every stage of growth. Even those huge marrow-sized ones that lurk beneath the leaves.
My nemesis, however, remains the elusive borlotti bean. For the past three summers (and a few before that let me tell you) I have patiently pushed seed into pots of sifted compost, nursed seedlings through all sorts of conditions. Yet no matter what I do, no matter from whom I obtain seed, my dreams of freshly podded borlotti beans simmered with home-grown garlic and sage and thyme and lashings of good, green olive oil never quite come off. Until - ta-dah - the smallest but sweetest of victories this year.
They are bush variety - I'd've preferred a climber, but beggers cannot be choosers - that I sowed into jiffy coir pellet-things and there's not a lot of pod action, but at last. Success! Enormously proud of self, and all grown with scant but carefully applied watering. Next year will be the true success I dream about.