Friday 26 February 2021

Wassailing an Apple Tree in Springtime by Jane Mortimer

Here's a post by Jane Mortimer about wassailing apple trees in springtime:

Earlier this week I finally got round to wassailing the apple tree on the A12 using the ceremony from my own Book of Shadows. I've copied the text below and included pictures. It was a bit sad having to do the ceremony on my own. Maybe next year a group of us can do it. 

Wassailing the apple tree …..

It’s Tuesday 23rd February, and we are blessed with the first warm, dry, sunny day this year.  The moon is waxing gibbous and I’ve been waiting to wassail our wonderful A12 apple tree for weeks. 

First I prepared my ingredients:  a can of cider, a couple of cloves, Jamaica peppercorns, a piece of cinnamon stick and a star anise, all boiled and simmered in my flat-bottomed cast iron teapot, which is the nearest thing I can find to a cauldron for the ceramic hob. After a few minutes’ simmering, I strained the liquid into a jug to cool for a while before transferring it to my battered old Thermos flask. 

Then, armed with my flask, brass wassail cup and camera I went under the subway to the tree.  In its bare winter state and with the ground clear of its usual thicket of undergrowth, I could see why the tree bears two different kinds of apple.  Some of them are Bramleys, and some are huge cooking apples with redder skins, and I could see where a sucker had grown fromthe rootstock that the Bramley was grafted onto many decades ago.  Bramleys can’t be grown from seed – only from grafting scions onto a suitable rootstock or tree, so another cooking apple is ideal.  It takes two older trees to cross-pollinate and produce apples, so, job done!  

I hid behind the tree, away from the traffic, and sang the Apple Tree Wassail twice, so I could give the tree its four pieces of toast and a generous libation of the spiced cider, then toasted the tree with my share.  I’m so happy to’ve done this little ceremony at last.  Here’s to the health of the Apple Tree!     

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