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Rambling on . . . about orchards and literature . . .


When I was a young girl of about fifteen or so I went with a friend to visit her grandmother.  Nothing life-changing about that you might think, but, behind the suburban bungalow was a huge garden full of fruit trees and nothing else, they were old and gnarled and hadn’t been cared for in a long time (the grandmother was very ancient to my young eyes), but, I had been in my first orchard and met my first orchardist.

Wandering among the old trees in the long grass I tasted fruit fresh from the tree, plucked a strange green plum and savoured the buttery sweetness of a greengage.  From that simple moment I promised myself that when I had my own garden I would plant fruit trees, and the first of these would be a greengage.

The memory of that garden stayed with me; I remembered my promise to myself and duly planted a greengage, four apple trees and a Victoria plum. Unfortunately my garden isn’t big enough to plant them as an orchard they are scattered through the borders, but the picture below is something like my remembrance of my friends grandmothers orchard.


So when I came across a book called The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin  her debut novel, that took eight years to write, it seemed inevitable that I should buy it, and I am so glad that I did.  Without doubt it is the best book I have read in a long time.  ‘It is an astonishing and unforgettable epic about a man who disrupts the lonely harmony of his life when he opens his heart and lets the world in.’

see interview with Amanda Coplin here

If this post tempts you to read the book I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


  1. What lovely memories you describe here and what a wonderful book this sounds like.

    1. It was the name of the book that brought the memories back - I didn't even know if the word orchardist was a real one - in fact it is, but not much used now.

  2. I just love greengages a case of a sheep in wolves clothing. Who would imagine what looks like an under-ripe plum could taste so delicious

  3. My grandparents and great aunt and uncle all had orchards as they grew fruit for covent garden. I loved the old plum trees as a child, and damsons and cambridge gages too, and my great aunt's orchard had a donkey that lived in it and grazed the fallen apples. I must go and look up that book - it sounds interesting

  4. Its those memories of our grandparents and relatives gardens that inspire a lot of us in our gardens now, it certainly does for me. A lovely post and you've certainly given me a new book to read.

  5. A most enjoyable post, and I certainly remember an aunt's garden just like that.
    That looks to be the sort of book that I read when I want a change to my usual reading choices. Flighty xx

  6. Have just come home from my childhood garden where the apple trees are well past the half century mark - my dwarf rootstocks look decidedly puny in comparison. Thanks for the book suggestion Elaine - title noted and will check library catalogue.

  7. Oh it's certainly tempted me!!! I shall definitely read it. How lovely to hear of your early experience with an orchard, reminded me of the secret garden. A lovely post, I really enjoyed it.xxxx

  8. What a lovely introduction to the book! There is something wonderful about an old orchard with gnarled fruit trees and the echoes of generations of fruit-pickers.

  9. One of my dreams would be to have an orchard! The book you recommend looks very interesting I will have to see whether our library has a copy of it.
    Sarah x

  10. It is always nice to have sweet memories of our childhood. I grew up on a farm and we had an orchard in the back of the vegetable garden which was kept up by my grandpa. He was our gardener. In that garden my sister and I had a small garden, where we learned sowing and weeding.

  11. I love learning about the discoveries of childhood that left an indelible impact ~ especially such a lovely story as yours. I have ordered the book "The Orchardist" through my regional library, so it shouldn't be too long before I get a call!

    I wish you well with the continuation of your novel. I am so glad you had positive reviews from the draft and that the constructive suggestions were helpful.

    Your Shepherd's Pie looked delicious and is something we enjoy as comfort food as well...Right now we are still eating turkey from our Thanksgiving weekend...and I must say, it's delicious, especially with all the 'fixin's'...

    As for gardening and clearing up...well, this is what I have discovered. If I leave everything as is, many plants that look dried up and deadish, come back to life in the spring! Last year I left the geraniums in my window box, and low and behold, they survived, as did many other surprises. I say let them have a relaxing autumn, settle back during winter and wait and see until Spring :) Much less work, as a bonus.

  12. This brings back my own memories Elaine. Our garden as children was very big and it included an orchard at the bottom end where my sister and I played amongst the trees. The book sounds good and I'll look out for it.
    Patricia x

  13. Thank you all for your comments - I can't answer your comments individually as blogger keeps telling me 503 error whatever that means.

    1. I think it means service unavailable. have you tried refreshing the page when you get the error. Also have you cleared the cache in clear browsing data?

    2. I have cleared the browsing cache but didn't think to try refreshing the page - next time it happens I'll give it a go - thanks Sue.

  14. If only my garden today was as good as the gardens of my childhood memories! Everything seemed so perfect and unattainable.


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