I’ve been away on a trip to Higland Perthshire – a birthday treat for my husband to traipse around various historic sights and take in some autumn mountain air. As well as history and landscape there were plants. We visited the Fortingall yew tree:
5000 years old but with tiny signs of new growth and full of tweeting birds. We went to the Loch Tay Crannog Centre, recently damaged by fire but with a vibrant visitor centre and information about prehistoric vegetables, of which there were very few it seems. Nearly everything seems to have been introduced by the Romans but theses prehistoric peoples did have carrots and nettles.
It had a great bookshop. When I opened a book to find half a page dedicated to ‘Howgate Wonder 1915’, I was drawn in. When it went on to tell me that this wondrous apple is now in the Guinness book of Records as the world’s largest apple, I was hooked. I can almost forgive it for describing the fruit of my beloved tree as ‘pleasant enough’ when it is such a great little book. ‘Forgotten Fruits’ by Christopher Stocks (2009) is a little gem of a book about heritage fruit and vegetables. It is full of fascinating stories about the origins of apples, peas, beans and other joys. It makes me want to buy a field and grow an Orchard full of different apple varieties and try out new types of beans, for their names alone. More fantasy gardening, I’m afraid but in the mean time, it will provide me with lots of blogging fodder.