This isn’t the Okanagan, but every year in St. John’s’ public spaces there’s an accidental harvest that’s often overlooked. There are chuckly pears on MUN campus, mint leaves on the banks of Rennies Mill, blackberries on Virginia River. And it’s a myth that only fruit trees of the “crab” variety grow here, at least if “crab” means “no good to eat”.
I have two favorite apple trees in town. One sits in the little stand of trees on the corner of Allandale Rd. and the Parkway, on the Confederation Building side. Usually bountiful, it barely produced this year. Apple trees are cross pollinators and need another tree to give fruit. This one stands all by its lonesome. The other tree, which I recently clambered up and fell out of, is at the base of the tobogganing hill by the Fluvarium. It’s still packed with fruit on its
upper branches (bring a broom handle or be prepared to climb). The apples are sweet and dense, good for munching, and great for baking.
I daydream of a more edible city where public landscaping would mean less pruning and more picking. Some cities have guerilla gardeners who, in the dead of night, plant turnips and string beans alongside the pansies and daffodils in municipal flower beds.
Years ago, this city planted maple trees en masse, creating a monoculture around St. John’s. Today we actually have Municipal Arborist. If you see him, ask him to plant some more apple trees.
– Lesley Thompson and Ben Jackson