Julian’s a very sensible lad – his professional life has taught him the importance of doing things in the right order, creating a carefully nuanced plan and not being swayed by what might be a quick fix or a moment’s fun. There’s often not much room for grand romantic gestures.
But the morning after settlement on Wombat Hill Farm, he woke me up with the suggestion we have a quick coffee then head straight to the nursery for some first-weekend-on-the-farm fruit trees. What would I love to plant?
What a delightful suggestion!
A couple of apples seemed an obvious place to start – a favourite Pink Lady for eating and a granny smith for cross pollination.
But the little Lily in me really longed for a mulberry tree. A huge old mulberry tree lived in the garden next door to my grandparents when I was little and oh I have very happy memories of picking the juicy tart fruit during the hot summer holidays and gobbling them up until everything was stained purple.
It was also the kind of tree that just begged for a tree house or a hammock or swing. The kind of tree you draw when you’re little. The perfect tree for a family that has loves to cook and eat and dream of what things will be one day …
A mulberry tree it was. Look at it. So thin and spindly. But already it’s pushing out its glorious iridescent spring leaves AND wee green mulberries.
Julian and our friend Grahame dug the holes – it was not that arduous. The soil is so friable, rich, just the right amount of damp and chockers full of worms. They don’t call it Brogo Gold for nothing!
The little boys and I carefully planted the trees with a bit of extra soil, gave them a good mulching and a drink.
Julian then put his first Wombat Hill Farm harvest to good use – old star pickets he’d gathered from our earlier walk – to keep the local wildlife away from these fragile stems.
It was very much a newbie orchardist’s experience Hopefully we’ve planted them in spots they’ll grow to love. And ones we won’t regret.
And whilst we hope to create a more formal orchard in the next few years to come that will include many more fruits … apples, oranges, pears, stone fruit, nuts … these three little trees will always be special.
Our romantic beginning!