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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Lady's Garden, 2007 - 2010. Update.

"Our Lady's Garden."

Chant of the
Salve Regina
on the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, 2010.

2007 - 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
11 February 2007.

The future greenhouse blessed for the Queen of Heaven
"Our Lady's Garden"

Brother Paul Mary in the trenches.
4 May 2007
A lot of work was done.
And a few days later, same trench:
Fr. Anthony laying the raised bed over it.

Since May 2007 we have seen Our Lady's Garden
taking shape,
we are still experimenting on what works
and what doesn't.

16 July 2010

Grapes were planted last year.

Pruning the Grapes.

I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he will take away:
and every one that beareth fruit,
he will prune it that it may bring forth more fruit.
(Jn. 15:1)

Fr. Anthony's Peach Tree.

Some of us doubted
the introduction of a peach tree
to Papa Stronsay!

From the beginning,
when the tree was but a spindle in a pot,
it produced abundant peaches
although those first ones were but the size of golf balls.

This year they were large, soft and brimming with juice.

Could these be the most northerly peaches in the world?

Fr. Anthony's Peach Tree
was a very successful introduction.

...the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily.
(Is. 35:1)
We have produced our own flowers for the altar since March.

Br. Yousef Marie with the Jerusalem Artichokes.


The Passion Flower.

Doing well but it didn't need to be inside.

Corgettes everywhere.

The tomatoes are in abundance.

Post Scriptum.

11 May 2007
the planting of the Kiwifruit vines!
Understandable perhaps,
(rich in Vitaman C)
we were hopeful,
but alas!

It flourished
and remains fruitless
three years,
a failure!

2007 - 2010.

"Behold for three years I come seeking fruit on this and I find none.
Cut it down therefore,
Why cumbereth it the ground?"

But he answering, said to him:
Lord, let it alone this year also,
until I dig about it and dung it.
And if happily it bear fruit:
but if not,
then after that thou shalt cut it down.
(Lk. 13:6)

(2 male and 4 female Kiwifruit vines are growing together
their fruitlessness is probably due to our degrees of latitude (59.2° North).
The sun remains close to the horizon at this latitude
and there may not be sufficient sun intensity to bring forth flowers for fruit.)

The unsuccessful Kiwifruit vines
of Fr. Michael Mary!


umblepie said...

Wonderful photographs; 'by their fruits you shall know them' -this must surely apply to the F.SS.R. I have to admit that the 5 star photograph in my book is .........
'Brother Yousef Marie with the Jerusalem Artichokes' - superb!
There are many other superlatives that I could use, but I don't want to overdo it! A simple, but heartfelt 'thanks' for a great post.

Anne B said...

Don't pull them out yet.
Miracles of Grace occur with man, so why not with the less complicated Kiwi Fruit? It is by no means tropical here in North East Victoria, Australia, but there is a flourishing Kiwifruit Orchard nearby. Let me ask them for some advice! Wait...

Anne B said...

How to grow (Maybe you can adapt this for Scottish Conditions???):
Kiwi fruit will grow in most of temperate Australia - and with careful placement even in areas that seem unlikely.

Kiwi fruit MUST have chilling - 700 hours below 7°C; MUST have well drained soil; MUST have good watering for the first three years; MUST have mulch and water when the temperature is over 35°C for the first three years; and you MUST have a male and a female vine (or nine females to one male - but one to two females are more than enough for a kiwi fruit addicted family and all their friends and birds. Avoid male and females grafted onto one vine - they almost always break down.)

If you've got all of those - it's easy.

Train your kiwi fruit onto a pergola, fence or up a tree in warmer climates. Be warned: the vine will get very big and heavy even if you prune it rigorously once a year - fences et al can well collapse under their weight.

The first year prune back to the central trunk, with two main arms. The fruit is produced on this year's shoots from last year's growth - in other words, you get fruit from one year old wood, and anything older needs to be pruned back. If you don't prune, you'll get a jungle that even Sleeping Beauty's Prince wouldn't be able to hack through and rats love to nest in the tangles. Every winter prune back vigorously - if you've trained it properly the first year or two, you'll have lots of long 'laterals' growing out of the two main arms. Keep about half of these and trim them back to a reasonable length. You'll also need to trim back any new laterals off the main arms in summer.

I know this seems complicated. In fact kiwi fruit are so vigorous that after five or six years, if you just cut it back to manageable size, you'll still have enough last year's wood and this year's shoots for masses of fruit. Just remember that if you do go for a very drastic cut back, you won't have any fruit next season.

Fruit should appear after 2 - 3 years; some authorities recommend picking before frosts, but I find that frosts tenderise and sweeten them. Don't wait for the fruit to get ripe on the vine though - it doesn't. Pick and wait for anywhere from three days to two weeks for them to ripen indoors. The riper they are, the sooner they'll soften inside. If they don't taste sweet, they aren't ripe enough to pick and if they leave a furry taste on your tongue, they are definitely not ready. Note: Your home-grown fruit will be MUCH sweeter than shop bought stuff; and will have more flavour too - commercial kiwi fruit never seem to have much flavour at all, just vague sweetness and a hint of scent.

Pick the latest fruit first - kiwi fruit are best stored on the vine. We let the birds get most of ours - the display as they try to balance and peck is worth losing the fruit for - and, anyway, a few hundred kiwi fruit is more than enough for us.

Anne B said...

I have found that the small amount of information I gleaned is, nevertheless, too large for this site, so I have emailed it to Br. Nicodemus (since he posted some relics, I have his email address). I do hope it may save the plants from being cut down!

Thomas M. said...

I worked in this garden last september ! It's a nice and warm place.

Unknown said...

Beautiful! Our Lady's Garden in Papastronsay. But give the kiwi fruit a chance. I'll pray a rosary for it. Hope Our Lady will be pleased. Nice work!

bess said...

Wonderful! That photo of Brother Yousef Marie has set me up for the day. He looks so happy.

Rubricarius said...

It may be stating the obvious but are you sure the Kiwi fruit (Actinidia) was a female clone and not a male?

The peaches look mouthwateringly good.

Michelle Therese said...

What a lovely greenhoose!!

Frances said...

I have been working in my kiwifruit orchard for the past 2 years Fr .1. Yes they do require winter chilling.2. Prune as in previous post after leaf fall.The canes can be tied up on wires.3.Remove any suckers coming out the base of plant or up the main trunk 4 Wait and see if there are any flower buds in spring and remove buds either side of triples. You want female singles only but leave the males they are more prolific but have a job to do and can be pruned back after flowering.5.Snap off non fruiting shoots and squeeze shoot ends to stop them growing wild.6 If you get flowers, hand pollinate by taking male flowers and brushing onto female unless you have good bees?The fruit forms quickly so you will see results soon if successful but then take 5 months to mature. Fertilise 4 times year and good luck.

St. Jude Pray For Me said...

Dear Rev. Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.
Dear Brothers

Any time I read a post like the one on "Our Lady's Garden" in Papa Stronsay I stay amazed by your ability in doing any
kind of work with great skill and cheerful harmony.

Your Joy in Serving the Lord always finds its greatest expression in any of your activities as well as in the humility
with which you accept the "failure".

May God lay His hands on your heads blessing you forever.

With All Respect

Anonymous said...

there exist some japanese types of Kiwi which even may grow in this climate without a greenhouse- but I really do not know, where to get.

Anonymous said...

PAX. how wonderful, how excellent..praise God, its great.
makes me want to visit when i am up at Pluscraden and go the extra miles...

Anonymous said...

Now I'm no gardener - not at all - but if the problem really would be lack of sunlight, a strategically placed mirror might help a lot. Of course, one should be careful not to overdo it, but reflected sunlight is as good as the real thing.

Maybe worth a shot?

Tanya Boracay said...

wow all priest can take care the garden and i believe that it is grow much more blessings

Just like to share with you a beautiful quote...

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." - Albert Schweitzer

You can get more happiness quotes at

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