This weekend there's been a distinct autumn chill in the air and we're sad, as it means that the end of summer is nigh. Not that it's been the blistering barbecue one we were promised, but we have had fun in the garden. Apart from the tomatoes (that's it, never again with tomatoes) we've had a glut of fruit from every tree and fruit bush in the garden, it's been a brilliant year for produce.
Naturally, we're planning next year's growth, although middleagedad has requested that we grow stuff that we all like and are likely to want to eat (ruling out marrows and asparagus peas). There are lots of things we'd like to grow but space is limited, so we are grateful to Diana, who told us about the joy she has had from renting a cherry tree for the summer, which resulted in bucket loads of sweet black cherries and very little actual work.
For £40 a year, you can rent a cherry tree from www.rentacherrytree.co.uk, who will look after the tree in their lovely Kent cherry orchard, net it when the fruit are ripening to keep the fruit from being eaten by hords of birds and then tell you when to visit to pick the cherries. You then get to spend a blissful day picking delicious fat cherries to take home with you, and if that's too much trouble they'll even arrange to pick them for you (for a small fee).
Since it takes a few years to get a cherry tree to maturity and we've run out of space in our garden, this seems a magnificent idea. Obviously you need to be able to process the cherries pretty smartly once they are picked, freezing or perhaps a major jam session seems the obvious move ( there are lots of recipes on the website). Sharing the tree with friends seems a good idea too, since it's not unusual to get 15 kilos of fruit each summer.
If you want to rent a tree for the 2010 growing season you'll need to get your name down fast, Right behind ours, perhaps we could organise a Women's Room cherry picking picnic next year?