Thursday, 23 October 2008

TOO MUCH MEDDLING!


There was a tragic moment, today, when I discovered an old friend, sadly brought down by age and infirmity.  

I walked from Kings Cross Station to the RHS Headquarters at Vincent Square - howzzat for good, green behaviour??!!  - but I digress.  My favourite route is through Bloomsbury, past the British Museum, across Tragalgar Square and then a leafy interlude through the Whitehall end of Saint James's Park.  

There's an ancient medlar tree that I've known and enjoyed there for nearly thirty years.  It has been well cared-for, with the down-curving, gnarled limbs carefully supported by props, and with old or dying branches removed  from time to time.  In spring, the solitary blossoms are a joy and all summer, it creates a companionable, dark green hump when foliage covers the stooping  boughs.

When I passed it today, however, I saw that much of the top growth has been removed, leaving a sadly disfigured wreck.  Before, it was quaint; now it's ugly and sad.  Whether gales or decay did this, I know not, but as a horticulturist, I suppose I should recommend its removal.  The remains would be chopped down and the roots removed, perhaps to make room for a 'more interesting' tree.  But it would break my heart if the Royal Parks did that.  Let's hope they bolster up the poor old wreck, as long as it can produce a flower or two in spring and a little foliage in summer.

As usual, I'd forgotten to take my pocket camera to Town, so no picture of my languishing loved-one I'm afraid.  The picture of the medlar fruit at the top is growing in Rosemoor and is a much more vigorous specimen.  Not a pretty sight, though, and a compelling explanation of the disgustingly anatomical name given by more raunchy Victorians to this fruit which is inedible until rotten.

12 comments:

  1. Its sad when a tree you have known for a long time comes to the end of its life. I remember being very upset when some Chestnut trees I had grown up with were taken down. I was surprised at the comment that they might replace it with something more interesting - I wondered if you were being sarcastic since I think medlers are very interesting and increasingly rare these days

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  2. Yes, being sarcastic! I should have put the words into quotes - indeed, I've now edited it. Every garden which has enough space should surely have a medla, a quince and a fig, don't you think?

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  3. I do hope the next time you go on a green saunter from Kings Cross Station to RHS HQ you have your camera to immortalize that ancient friend the medlar and immortalize her digitized on your web log.

    All the history breathed into its bark and to be featured on a blog for the world to see - pretty trendy and lively for the old girl still.

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  4. But do you like to eat medlars, quinces and figs?

    Lucy
    LOOSE AND LEAFY

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  5. P.M.N. Am completely fixated with the idea of growing a Mespilus germanica - moments ago I had no idea what on earth a Medlar was, and now I must have one. You've sent me back to my Manual of Woody Landscape Plants - our N.A. plant bible - and to my delight there's one growing in Illinois - which means perhaps it might also grow here in Oakville Ontario. Next step finding a source for plant or seed (ever the optimist).

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  6. So delighted barbarapc is fixated. This tree is a tough old biddy, so Ontario should cause no problems - apart from possible lensing in spring when night frosts might split the bark of youngsters.

    Lucy, I lurve eating figs - the world's sexiest fruits - and also quinces. We have a piece of quince always added to our apple pies or crumbles, to give them that extra edge, and my wife makes outstanding quince cheese. Medlars, on the other hand, don't appeal as food, though I adore the trees. It's the 'bletting' business I can't be doing with.

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  7. Oh, I forgot to say - yes, I'm a complete idiot for not having my pocket camera with me. The big monsta SLR doesn't travel with me unless I'm specifically on a shoot, or doing serious travel. That saunter, from one end of Town to the other is about 4.5 miles, by the way!

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  8. About cameras and not having your pocket one with you . . . I take all my photos on a mobile phone.

    Of course, it's not the same as a 'real' camera and it's limitted in what it can do but for having it with you all the time it's brilliant.

    Mine fits in the palm of my hand - in fact, it rarely leaves it. No-one takes notice because so many people carry phones now - and I'm pleased with what it takes.

    For everyday use, I'd recommend it.

    Lucy

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  9. Great idea! My mobile is so ancient that I'm slightly embarrassed to show it in public anyway. Perhaps it's time for an upgrade. All your pics are amazing - if some of those came out of your phone, I'm, well, impressed!

    What next - phones that will boil an egg and give you psychotherapy?

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  10. They all do.

    If it's of any use / interest to know, it's a Samsung SGH - 9900i Edge Quad Band.

    Lucy

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  11. I love the word 'blet'. Not sure I can be doing with eating rotten fruit, though.

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  12. Nobody appears prepared to admit to eating a medlar. I only have as jelly - delicious - but I have to say that part of me hankers to try a raw, rotting (maybe even festering) fruit. They can't be that bad.
    Another part of me, mind you, says euuuggghhhhhhh.

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