You were so small when I first saw you, just a meter high with a few leaves, known as apple tree sapling. You were so young; an apple tree, that had not yet born its first apple, just standing there in the gardening department of a store with a few others: the origin perhaps developing from a pip in the same apple as the other saplings standing with you, one far day before. Your age could not have been more than five years, but you wanted to be taken into a place, in a garden, where you could spread your roots and absorb the goodness of mother earth. Our glance caught each other and I decided you would be mine; my first venture into the unknown world of garden development.
It was the first spring in my new home and my garden was just a small green field of grass, with a few sprigs of clover growing wildly; just to show that the earth was ready and waiting. I took you home with mixed feelings. Would you grow too large for my garden, will I treat you with the affection, respect and love you deserve and above all, will you be visited by pollinating bees bringing the chance of fertilisation, from another apple tree in the neighbourhood? You never did really disappoint, my apple tree, you were always ready for a surprise.
I took the spade and dug a hollow for your roots, I put food into the space in the shape of pellets containing the necessary strength to let your roots spread and absorb the goodness you needed. I surrounded your foundations with earth and looked that you were fitted firmly in the ground. I examined you from all sides and found you were standing proudly in your own place. There were no rivals near to take your nutrition away.
Four weeks nature fed you and gave you to drink through the fresh rainwater pouring down from the clouds. You were thankful and showed your gratitude already in the shape of small buds shimmering with a slight pink outline surrounding the pure whiteness of the interior. I was satisfied and proud that you were making an effort to produce fruit in your first year. However, this was not to be. Your blossoms were discarded a month later and no fruit resulted. I decided to give you a further chance, so I carried on feeding you and letting nature take its course.
The following spring was coming and you were growing, growing too fast. Your trunk was not ready to bear such a weight. I cut your branches at the end of winter, reduced them in size and still you did not complain, you said nothing, just stood there and accepted. Once again your buds appeared in spring, your branches bore blossoms so manifold that could I dare to hope that there would be perhaps one or two fruits being born in autumn. You did not disappoint and during the summer months your fruits started to grow until I was the proud possessor of five apples in autumn. I rewarded you for your efforts and gave food into the earth to let your strength be replenished.
Then the second year came. Your branches were growing, growing too much. Again I had to reduce their size and weight, but you did not withhold your rewards. After two years in your safe little corner of the garden I had my first harvest of apples. More than one hundred were counted, each one juicy and sweet as if you had thanked me for taking care of you.
Today you have spent ten years with me. Your bark has become scarred, somewhat blemished, but stronger and thicker and able to carry apples in abundance. The bees find their way easily to your quiet corner of the garden and your rewards arrive regularly every autumn, the apples appearing from each fertilised blossom. Thank you my apple tree.