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Belle Wong

I'm adding this to my to-read list - I love gardening books (as opposed to books about gardening, which are also lovely. I guess I mean garden writing books!). My favourite garden writer is Henry Mitchell, but this one sounds very enjoyable too. I am wondering now what she meant by a walnut tree bleeding!


I wondered the same thing--I could only imagine sap being taken from a tree for syrup, but I think that must be something else? I really enjoyed this--though to be honest I am only an 'armchair' gardener. There is lots of practical stuff in the book, but also lots of history, social history and even travel bits. Each month is broken up into short essays so you can easily dip into the book over the course of a month. I am not familiar with Henry Mitchell but I will check him out--thanks! :)

Liz F

A crab apple tree in your front garden sounds lovely but you do have to be careful where you plant trees!
We discovered this the hard way when a eucalyptus that we bought at a supermarket turned out to be rather larger than we anticipated - the label had said it grew to 10 feet tall but when it grew almost as tall as the house (nearer 30 feet) we had to have it cut down for fear of what the roots were doing!
Now we have a rowan tree in the front garden, but a type which has pink berries on it rather than the usual orangey-red. It's lovely for watching the birds eating the berries in the autumn and is also a guardian tree which keeps away witches and evil spirits according to Celtic legend! As I haven't seen any of the latter, I assume that it is working!
Re: Christmas traditions - I still do stockings for my kids each Christmas if they are at home even though the youngest is now 21 and they always have a satsuma or clementine in the toe but they get a chocolate polar bear or snowman instead of the nuts!
They used to be up at a ridiculously early hour when they were small which was a bit of a trial as I am always late to bed on Christmas Eve, but one of the good things about them being grown up is that they tend to sleep a bit longer and sometimes actually have to be woken up!


I love the idea that a garden is a process not a product, and how useful that is as a maxim generally! If I ever took up gardening, I would do it to try and learn patience, as I have very little. This sounds like such a charming and soothing book. Delightful.


Yay! A good year of armchair gardening for you! I love my crab apple. Walter is still small but he already gets fruit. One of these days he will get enough that I can have some before all the squirrels take it! If you do decide to get a crab, you should know there are ornamental varieties that do not produce fruit. Also if you want fruit but don't want to plant two trees, make sure you find a self-pollinating variety.

Fall is actually a great time for planting trees and perennials and some, especially ones that bloom in spring, do better if you plant them in fall even here in the midwest.

Gardening is indeed a process. The garden is never finished and there is always something new to learn.

Looking forward to seeing what you choose for your next serial read :)


By "Bleeding" it means the sap which normally will flow from a cut branch or damage to the trunk of a tree will weep/bleed/ooze out more enthusiastically with a Walnut tree... I've never seen it myself but believe it can drip..which apparently worries the trees owner but the tree tends to look after itself.

Crab apples grow well here in the North and the cold doesn't bother them ..though the moose prune them when they get the chance :O)
You just need to make sure the root stock used on the tree you choose is cold hardy to the place where you live probably know this already but most fruit trees consist of a root stock from one type of apple tree (this controls the size and other qualities eg cold hardiness) onto which has been grafted a Scion (twig) from another type of apple tree (probably chosen for it's fruiting ability)
They look beautiful and make great jelly!
more info here


It's been wonderful following you following Anna Pavord.
Val in her comment explains a tree bleeding well, and I have seen it and it does look like bleeding. We have several walnuts and harvested some nuts a few years ago by driving the car over the hulls to break them. What a time we had. :)

Merry Christmas, Danielle.


I have two big trees in my back yard that were there when I moved in and I can only imagine now where all those roots must be! It's almost a little scary to think about--and my back sidewalk has been displaced in sections thanks to them! I would love to have a small blooming tree for the front yard someday, but I will definitely get advice first, if I do! I love the sound of a rowan tree--have never heard of it or the legend attached so I must go and check it out now. And I love hearing about your Christmas traditions. I remember my parents putting all those toys together on Christmas Day. One of my favorite gifts as a child was getting a paint by number set! We never really did stockings which is a pity as I love the sound of them! Now we are all very laid back--no small children in my family so all the gift exchanging is pretty low key. I can't believe the holiday is only a week away--and only two weeks left in the year--yikes!


I liked the sentiment, too. I can totally picture someone with a nice garden working with that premise. I am not sure I will ever be one of them, however. But it is fun reading about them--and this was a lovely read--very easy and interesting. I really must read more nature or garden books. I might never actually have one, but I love visiting them and reading about them. Must check out The Morville Hours now!


I thought of you the whole time I was reading the book--I think you would enjoy it if you ever come across a copy. I had no idea about the crab apples trees--she doesn't mention any of that stuff, but then maybe US versions are different than what they have in the UK? And she also mentions squirrels eating her walnuts-so I had to chuckle at that thinking of the corn you had and the stockings covering them! I have a few books in mind and need to think about which to pick. Strangely I have not thought much at all about next year's reads so much--I guess since I am planning on keeping it all pretty open-ended and not much in the way of plans at all! But I do have a couple of projects in the works to begin the year...including a new serial read!


Hi Val--Thanks so much for the comment! I am sorry to say I am very ignorant of anything really to do with the garden. And while I love trees, I know so little about them--so your comment and Stefanie's are most welcome! I wondered if the bleeding reference had something to do with sap, but I have never seen anything like that. I always imagined crab apples as being bitter--but I am all too happy to have apple jelly from them. I think I might really look into crab apple trees! Oh, and having a flowering tree in my yard would be so cool!


Happy Holidays, Penny! Can you believe Christmas is only a week away. I am ready for break but not for the holiday, which makes me want to say, no, slow down! I would *love* to have a walnut tree-I eat them every day. I put them in my cereal or oatmeal--yummy and good for you. I had no idea that they were so hard to get into--I;m guessing the hulls are not quite the same as the actual nut shell? The Pavord was a fun read and it went well. I am looking for a new monthly read now!

Liz F

The rowan is also called a mountain ash but it might be a native tree to Britain which is why you aren't familiar with them.


I had to look it up and the wikipedia mentions that it is in North America too and is a cooler climate tree, though that doesn't mean it is prevalent here in Nebraska--very interesting to read about the folklore of the tree--I love stuff like that. It looks quite pretty with those red berries--I don't think I have seen them locally though. I pulled the Deakin book about trees (and some other nature books) from my pile last night---will take a closer look at them now that I have finished with the Pavord! :) I shouldn't but I can't help myself and besides it's time for a new nature book for my reading pile!

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