Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Apple Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Admittedly, we have the sorriest looking apple tree in all of Brooklyn. The feral cats like to jump up onto that brick wall, and then down they hop onto our side, stepping on the weak little sappling branches that were once on the right side of the tree. (Now that all of the branches have broken off, they use the trellis.) Its trunk is far from mighty, rivaling maybe a broomstick for girth. In fact, a rope attached to the fence keeps the thing from blowing over on a windy day. Its one long central stem reaches awkwardly up up up (yay!), and then over (wah wah). Between the top and the bottom, the foliage hasn't even thought about filling out, though the bottom section tries to put on a brave show, puffing out its sorry chest. 

Despite its scrawny ways--and despite all odds really--this tree is actually growing fruit. At last count, in fact, 26 apples!! Amazing, right?
Last year we were shocked to discover that it was growing a few little apples--right about this size--but a gust of wind blew them off. Or perhaps a feral cat sneezed and away they went. But I don't know, this year seems a bit more promising. 26 apples! And they keep growing and becoming more apple-like every day! And yes, I do go outside and look at them every single day. But just because things are looking promising this year, I know better than to get my hopes up. You see, in a garden, you never know what funky shit is gonna go down. See those tiny red spots on the leaves above? Who's to say those aren't the eggs of tiny red spiders and that when I come home from our Memorial Day road trip next week, the whole tree won't be encased in a spider cocoon? Do spider cocoons actually exist? Nope! But every single year, something happens to at least one of my crops that I had no idea even existed. Case in point: a bacteria that gets in your dirt and cuts off the vascular system of tomato plants so that water can't reach the leaves, killing the plant right as the fruit starts to ripen. And then the bacteria stays in your soil for five years. What kind of asshole bacteria is that? (Needless to say, the tomato plants will be in containers this year. Don't worry, the containers are cute! More on that soon...)
So, while I am excited and keeping vigilant watch over my sorry ass fruit-bearing apple tree, I refuse to count my apples until they are, well, in my belly. Sliced and cinnamoned. Smothered in a rich brie. Eaten like the hand-fruit that they are. Let us now pray for the apples, shall we?
Another thing that needs prayers in our garden is, well, the entire garden. This is our first year gardening with a dog! A dog, I might add, whose sole purpose in life is to walk with his nose to the ground and his butt in the air, sniffing every last thing on God's green earth. We have TV to entertain us--this dog has his nose. And one of his favorite things to do is take laps of our yard, sidestepping (or not) whatever new plant has popped up.
That being said, we have taken some protective measures. Exhibit A: Flower Jail. Within one minute of these flowers going in the ground last weekend, he had already stepped on one of the dahlias. Nah ah, we said. And upon realizing that the flower bed was the exact size of our defunct fire pit stand, we picked it up and placed it over the flowers. And...STAY OUT.
Is it a little sad to have to put your flowers in flower jail? Well, yeah. But it would be a lot sadder if they all got trampled. Or pooped on. Or both. As I said, this is the year of the vigilant garden. I absolutely cannot control whatever mother nature has in store--and she's got some ideas, let me tell you--but I can try. I can watch my apples, and I can soap down the tree at the first sign of a red spider infestation. And I am not too proud to barricade my dahlias until they grow strong strong strong. Then, one day, be they apple tree or flower bush, they will be big and burly enough to stand on their own. And I will be over there, in the chaise lounge, hopefully sipping a cold, delicious beer.


  1. You sound like Mom at the end, except she's in the chaise lounge with a Lemon Drop. I think the caged flowers are super pretty! And the apple tree is adorable in a sad-Christmas-tree kind of way.

  2. At the moment I'm into Margaritas, on the chaise lounge, of course. We also have an apple tree! I'm so excited. It looks a little bigger and straighter than yours, Liana.