Letter: Gloomy garden of England

Sir: Once more we are threatened with a disastrous failure in the apple crop. In the early 1950s my family lived for a few years in Kent, the self-styled garden of England. Every year we were there, my father observed, the pages of the Kent Messenger recounted the same saga of disaster, like some Greek myth of regeneration gone wrong.

In March, untimely winds would rip the young buds from the trees. In April, unseasonal rain would dash the abundant delicate blossom to the ground before it had set. In May, exceptional frost would shrivel up the young fruit which had promised a bumper crop. By the end of June, as a result of the worst drought in living memory the fruit had failed to swell beyond the size of cherries (by then the cherry crop had been a disaster too). In July lack of sun was preventing the fruit from ripening. By early September, the trees were groaning with the weight of fruit, and the price had dropped to the point where it was not worth the cost of picking the fruit.

Notwithstanding the EU, some things don't change.


London SW12