So our lone pomegranate has finally ripened…
As you can see, beautiful from one point of view, less-than-perfect from another. After watching this one develop over a period of months, and detaching a few companion fruit that were attacked by pests, we have taken the plunge and picked the survivor today.
Filled with seeds bathed in sparkling, dark red juice among soft and creamy pith, this is a gem of a pomegranate, and it is one hundred per cent organic – truly free from all chemicals. The juice is tingly-tart, without any bitter after-taste, and surprisingly refreshing. As I wrote in a previous post (pith and skin )I never understood why pomegranates are considered such desirable fruit; but I’m beginning to come round to them, as the juice is wonderful. Pity about the, er, bits and bobs that get stuck in the teeth.
By coincidence I have just come across two more pomegranate trees while visiting friends who live in new-build villas nearby. There’s a trend in New Cairo towards basement gardens; it’s an odd idea, in my view, as it puts the garden below street level, with poorer drainage and obstructed light, especially if the plot is surrounded by tall buildings.
It tends to begin as little more than an afterthought, as the original plan is for a villa on most of the land with underground garage and courtyard; but once bitten by the planting bug, many people go on to develop quite elaborate below-ground gardens with interesting planting schemes, water features, patios and the like. I’m surprised to see how many fruit trees are crammed in: mangoes, now that varieties such as “Keet” are available that don’t tower above the neighbourhood; citrus; banana; and pomegranate.
I think if I were to start over, I would do it the other way round: buy a plot of land, plan the garden – with particular attention to the kitchen garden and fruit – and then design a small house to fit. Water would have a central part, but not in the way it has in our present surroundings, where the irrigation systems repeatedly flood and the only pools are heart-shaped horrors to swim (or paddle) in.
Rather, I would take inspiration from traditional Islamic gardens from Andalusia to Afghanistan, with their successions of pools and water channels and the sound of ever-flowing water among the trees and flower beds. And there would be a kiosk to sit in, with blue and green ceramic tiles, and benches for relaxation and reading, meeting and chatting (with all mobiles switched off!) Oddly enough, I’ve come across just such a kiosk in downtown Cairo this week, in the garden of the Doctors’ Syndicate of all places.
It’s just a thought. I’m digressing. But you may not be surprised to know that we are off to the theatre on Sunday, to see an adaptation/dramatisation of the “Forty Rules of Love.” And all this flows from a single, lovely pomegranate…