There are many downsides to being an emigrant but I am the kind of person who finds it easier to look on the bright side. One of the things I enjoy most about my life abroad is that it allows me to have a garden full of fruit without an awful lot of effort.
The part of Germany I live in is very humid, making it ideal for growing figs, and the mixture of sun and rain means that I don't need a glasshouse for my tomatoes and peppers. My pears and various berries sweeten nicely and we can even grow kiwis.
To be honest, my only problem fruit is the humble apple. Our apple tree, like most of our garden, was planted by the previous owners of our house and they managed to prune it into a highly peculiar shape. It is very tall and slim and quite unlike a fruit tree. It is so leafy that you can hardly see the apples at all, but we know they are there because from June onwards a few fall to the ground every day or two. In fact our neighbour got quite a shock when one dropped as she was standing by the tree today, narrowly missing her head.
|Last year's bumper crop. The apples were visible for once!|
Despite all these problems, I wouldn't part with the apple tree. The fruit can mostly be salvaged and we manage to use them up without feeling we are eating apple dishes all Summer long.
|Teamed up with elderberries for hedgerow jelly...|
|...and with rosehips for rosehip & apple jelly.|
My first home, my parents and my grandmother gave me a fantastic grounding in growing and in home cooking. My second home, Germany, has given me the garden to allow me to pass those skills on to my own children.
|This year's walnuts|