Plans are now under way for Bro Duncan PBGV’s Memorial Orchard. A man has been consulted, who will undertake the necessary pruning-back of existing trees, ground clearance and planting and staking, which we are now, alas, unable to do ourselves. We intend, if we can, to plant at least one each of the following:
- Coe’s Golden Drop — a lovely, very sweet gage developed in Suffolk in the eighteenth century
- Russet dessert apples — probably Egremont rather than the Herefordshire variety; they mature late and are good keepers, as well as having an excelllent flavour one either loves or loathes; we love them
- Blenheim Orange/Herefordshire Beefing cooking apples — the latter is a very old local variety, dating from about 1700
- Concorde and Doyenne du Comice pears, the former mainly to help fertilize the latter
- and, if there is room and we can find one on a dwarfing rootstock, a King James Mulberry.
We have other varieties of apple, pear and plum in front of the barn, plus, of course, our treasured quince, cob-nut, peach and fig trees, all of which were ‘assisted’ in life by the attentions of our Hairy Brother.
Although we may not live to see the fruits of our endeavours, it doesn’t matter. I am reminded of Dr Feckenham, the last abbot of Westminster, who was a-setting trees in his orchard when Elizabeth I’s commissioners arrived to take him away. There is something very English and very Benedictine about planting in hope, knowing that God gives the increase and it is his to decide who will enjoy the fruit of our labours.
We are very grateful for all the contributions we have received towards the orchard. You can still contribute via our Charity Choice page, if you wish, for what monk, nun or monastic dog ever turned down the offer of help/a treat? Certainly not our late lamented Bro Duncan PBGV!