Apples for birds and butterflies

appleEvery now and then I give in to the hankering to grow something edible — knowing full well I’ll abandon it to its own devices. No watering. No fertilisation. I’m shocking.

Several years ago I succumbed to the purchase of two columnar apple trees. They’re supposed to grow directly up and stay compact for small gardens. I only wanted one, but the nursery people told me I had to have two that would cross-pollinate each other. They told me which ones would flower at the same time (in theory) for this to work.

Over the four or five years since I’ve had them, they’ve each borne between one and three apples a season. Not great returns, really. The trees actually blossom at slightly different times and I’ve put it down to that. Once or twice I’ve picked the apples, but they tend to fall off the tree before they’re ripe and get eaten by birds or possums. I’ve been considering the whole exercise a complete waste of time.

But… this season, one of the trees has been inexplicably growing a crop of some 30 to 40 apples! Some random bee must have had a fine old time pollinating my tree, and the result has been amazing. I’ve been watching the apples grow in little bunches, too many to even count! Every time I go near them I peer up at the little nubs of fruit, completely thrilled.

But, alas, I doubt I’ll see any of it ripen, once again. Each morning, a few half-grown green apples litter the garden bed, and by evening they are gone.

Am I mistaken in thinking my garden birds are looking mighty fat this year?

But I’ve reached the conclusion I don’t mind feeding the birds. It’s all part of the cycle of life, after all; and what’s exciting to me is watching the fruit develop out of the flower. It grows without any interference or assistance from me, and I find that amazing.

I don’t even mind feeding the caterpillars, because they metamorphose into butterflies.

The miracle of my apple tree is my inspiration of the week. Do you have a green thumb and/or a producing garden? What’s your favourite thing to grow?


10 thoughts on “Apples for birds and butterflies

    1. I think you’ll be ok if a neighbour has a tree to cross pollinate – I didn’t want to take the risk.
      And another thought: WHERE do the bees live in the suburbs? There must be hives somewhere not too far away, right? I’ve seen more this year, so maybe there’s a new hive and that’s why I’ve got more apples !


  1. I must confess I’m a houseplant aficionado. African violets are my passion (I have 5 blooming right now!) although I do have one lonely spider plant — much to my cat’s delight. He seems to think it’s a buffet! I’m a farm girl, so I used to love watching the birds fight over the cherries on my papaw’s cherry trees. One thing I do NOT like feeding, however, is the slugs! Vicious evil creatures!


    1. Slugs definitely = evil.
      I don’t have much luck with growing indoor plants – I think my unit is too dark.
      I have most love for my carnivorous plants – but that’s another post entirely. 🙂
      Thanks for visiting!


  2. I planted 2 plum trees, 3 apple trees, a peach tree, and a cherry tree in my yard when I first moved in to my current house. There were already 2 60 year old pear trees that (still) produce copious amounts of delicious Bartlett pears. Of all of those trees, only the pears are still standing. Diseases and lack of attention on my part did them in. Now, I stick to planting tomatoes, eggplants, basil, peppers, squash, cilantro and parsley – the things I love to eat and are easy to grow. 🙂


  3. I grew *something* every year when we lived in Vermont. Now we’re renting, but there are strawberry plants to around to harvest. And empty garden beds *eyes*. Maybe tomatoes this year? (Fresh-picked farm-grown tomatoes are the only kind I can stand to eat!).


  4. I’m a gardner. I grow some flowers (honeysuckle, zinnia, morning glories, moonflowers & marigolds) for the hummingbirds and other birds, and herbs, peas and carrots for us. Sometimes I have tomatoes, but one year I had hornworms ~ Yuck! That was the end of tomatoes.
    I bought a lemon and an orange tree last year ~ a kumquat tree the year before that (all produced okay, not great) and lettuce.
    I think that’s about it. My only problem is when a new plant that I haven’t planted starts growing, I can’t bring myself to pull it up ~ so my gardens get pretty overcrowded ~ but I think it’s cooler that way. I like surprises 🙂


    1. That sound amazing, Kim! A riot of colour and scent. You’re lucky to have hummingbirds; they’re so beautiful. But I’ve never heard of hornworms – will investigate… I’ve grown both lettuce and tomatoes before – loved going out to pick fresh salad for dinner! Must do that again.


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