Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Fruits of Summer...

It's fortunate you can't see the traces of purple on my fingers, but if you could then you might realise I've been picking Blackberries.

Blackberry season...
As I grew up in the Garden of England- Kent, I was used to seeing hop-fields and fruit being grown and picked, especially in the summer when it was common to go and pick Strawberries when the farmers had fruit crops to get in.

Wild brambles grew in lots of overgrown places and country roads, and it was common to pick the ripe fruit on a country walk. It was then made into a pie when we got home, or if there was enough, jam.

This was probably being done for centuries...

This year has been very good for fruit, and this winter our garden will need sorting as we've got self-seeded Redcurrants and a Holly growing up among the Tayberries- a raspberry/blackberry cross.

Of course we're growing cultivated varieties of the fruit, rather than the wilder fruit that would have grown in hedgerows a couple of centuries ago.

One of my research points for my Nottinghamshire story, is what would be growing in the rectory's kitchen garden in 1802?

My heroine, Sarah, defends herself with her spade when confronted by the hero's unpleasant cousin, and I immediately thought what would it have looked like, and could she have hefted the spade in the way I describe?

I found some images for American garden tools of the time and also have a history of country house gardens- somewhere- that I can search; but I realised that living in a village attached to a smallish estate, there would likely have been a carpenter, and even if not there, then there would be a blacksmith in another village who could make a suitable sized spade section to attach to a shaft and handle just right for my heroine's needs...

There may perhaps be a small rose somewhere, grown from a cutting given to the previous occupant of the rectory as a kind gesture.

But it certainly won't look like the scented roses in my garden that seem to have gone crazy this year- these were opening when we got the heavy rain Friday night...

blown Roses...

And the Hawthorn has
ripening berries...


  1. How lovely, Carol. There is nothing quite like picking your own fruit.

    Your post just goes to show how much research has to go in to writing historical fiction.

    I can almost smell those roses :-) xx

  2. I'm fortunate my husband likes growing fruit too; he does the pruning and I do the picking.

    I find one answer leads to another question whenever I'm researching a subject, Teresa. :-)

  3. Like the photos, Carol. I thought I'd found raspberries growing in my new garden, but turns out they're not! (I have yet to discover what they are.)

  4. It's possible it's another hybrid berry, Susan.

    Good idea to take a picture of the fruit, leaves and stem, this year, and if you can't find anything to match, wait until it starts growing next spring and take photos of each growth stage until you have the complete cycle- and make a note of the dates too. Good luck. :-)

  5. My neighbour had some wonderful fat blackberries in some bushes between our shared front path. Every day I'd think, 'I must pick some for a pie'. The day I actually got round to it, her gardener had trimmed the hedge and there was nothing left!


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