There have been times in the past several years since I planted the apricot tree that I have seriously considered chopping it down. It has produced very few fruit and I did wonder why I gave it space in the garden. Not this year though. Last month I had to thin the fruit, so laden were the branches and now the remaining fruit have swelled and are weighing down the branches with hundreds of glorious golden fruit. As far as possible, I have covered the most laden branches with Tendamesh (a very fine net) to keep the birds and squirrels at bay and so far it seems to be working. As the fruit turns a deep shade of apricot (how appropriate), we are picking them and either making compote, freezing them in halves (perfect for tarts later in the year) or spreading them out to ripen fully indoors. If we leave them, they tend to drop off the tree and get bruised or munched before we get to them. We may need to spread an old blanket on the ground for those that we can’t reach. I’ve started pruning the fruited branches and will shape the tree once all the fruit has been harvested in the hope that future crops will be easier to pick. Of course, the tree may now rest for several more years, but I think it is safe from the axe. I can’t remember whether it is Flavorcot or Tomcot, but it definitely is one of the Canadian bred varieties that flowers later to miss the frosts.
Lonicera tragophylla has fabulous deep yellow flowers and right now it is weaving all the way through the large fig tree in the garden and looking quite magnificent. As wonderful as it is, it does lack the glorious honeysuckle scent, which saddens me, but the bees still love it so it is good to know that it isn’t an entirely frivolous addition to the garden.
Right now the apricot tree is so laden with fruit that I fear that branches will break under their weight, but I suspect that the June drop when fruit trees shed some of their excess fruit will reduce the numbers. Then there are various birds and squirrels who will plunder the tree once the fruit starts to ripen, so in the end I will probably just get a handful – but in the meantime its nice to dream of an abundance of apricots…………..