A quest and a mystic well

In these times when we have literally no idea what is going to happen next, it seems a bit daft but I have embarked on what is likely to be a ten year project. This is the Quest for the Pippin of St Rumwold. I’ve now planted two apple seedlings that had germinated inside the apple; these are imported apples that have been in cold storage and so were ready to germinate. I plan to try local English apples when the season comes round, which should be more suited to the local climate, and I would guess that if you start with a better apple, you’re more likely to get a better pippin.

Braeburn and Cripps Red pippins

The thing about apples is that they are pollinated by at least one, maybe two trees of different varieties and the seedlings apparently don’t necessarily resemble the parent tree. I’ve always wanted to try growing apple trees from seed but never got it together. I read that it can take seven to ten years to discover whether a seedling will bear eatable fruit or whether it has reverted to something like a crab apple. I’m hoping that if I persist, then I will eventually grow even just one tree with a tasty apple, that will be unique to Rumwoldstow. Ambitious plans for two of the tiniest seedlings you’ve ever seen!

In the Rumwoldstow garden, we have the first flowering of the Madonna lilies. I planted three bulbs a bit late in the spring, and they’ve all come up but the other two don’t seem to fancy flowering this year. Aren’t they lovely? If they get properly established they’ll be fab.

Madonna lilies
Christmas rose in July

The Christmas rose (hellebore) continues to defy the seasons and is flowering like a good ‘un. And we have one other vegetative miracle in the form of a time traveller…a potato plant has sprouted in amongst the heartsease, strawberries and sorrell! Brother Julian dug in some compost and I guess there must have been potato peelings. At this point I might as well let it grow, and hope for some harvest later in the year.

A time traveller
The old Roman well, honest!

Construction work continues; the Roman well (ahem) is now set in a firm foundation ready for the wall to be built around it. And brothers Alf and Julian are hard at work on the foundations for the Roman gatehouse.

Can I borrow your wheelbarrow?
It is full of concrete.
No sheep today, just as well with the wet concrete!
Nice work!

We’re looking forward to the return of Chris the Stonemason, who this year built the new raised bed in the Rumwoldstow garden and also rebuilt the side of the bridge across the Black Brook. It looks well posh, though everybody keeps asking when is the other side going to be done…the problem is that the other side is a strange bodge-up with a rotting railway sleeper supporting the road bed, unlike the fancy side with the beautiful stone arch. My guess is that the bridge was originally lovely all the way through but narrower, and then somebody widened it for farm vehicles. Anyway, it’s now safe to walk on.

Nun shall pass!