Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay.

What my backyard garden and the cottage of New Zealand's poet Mary Ursula Bethell have in common? A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay!
Bethell is inextricably linked to the garden she tended at Rise Cottage, Its careful cultivation lovingly recorded in this first volume of poems She settled on the hills above Christchurch, where her cottage in Cashmere became the setting for her best-known poems. These first appeared (under the pseudonym Evelyn Hayes) in From a garden in the antipodes (1929).
Where ‘A Bush Section’ is sprawling and inclusive, Bethell’s poems ‘Detail’ begins,
"My garage is a structure of excessive plainness,
It springs from a dry bank in the back garden,
It is made of corrugated iron,
And painted all over with brick-red.
And beside it I have planted a green Bay-tree,
– A sweet Bay, an Olive, and a Turkey Fig,

A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay".

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

“To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.” ― Elizabeth David, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine

We harvested our first fig this morning, and we can confirm that a fig picked fresh from the tree, ripened by the sun, is one of the most beautiful fruits to be found in the Mediterranean as well as the one planted in our backyard. If you are lucky enough like us, to have a tree in the back garden, beat the birds by tossing a net over the canopy so the fruit can remain on the tree until it's luscious and juicy before being harvested, it is worth all the trouble for the effort you put in looking after it. Figs are incredibly delicate once they are ripen and deteriorate quickly, so eat them as soon as possible.