The Apple Orchard as Conceptual Art

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREExif_JPEG_PICTURE2008 spring, summer, apple varieties

[photos from our small orchard with 120 old and modern apple varieties]

The Apple Orchard as Conceptual Art

Orchards are the poetry of agriculture.
– Father Korbinian Aigner, pomologist (1885-1966)

Place trillions of apple genes triploid
& diploiding themselves promiscuously
as prostitutes, a wild cascade of pollen
info falling from the mountains of Tian Shan
flowing west in saddlebags or hoof cracks
then north via Roman centurions
schlepping a few pots of Court Pendu Plat
through barbarian forests dark as Dis
in Germania & Gaul

Make Johnny Appleseed make a buck
flogging thousands of cider pippins
he struck by riverbanks just ahead
of the main wave of settlers moving
west or north like Lady Pomona’s bees
spreading her sweet self far & wide
as thighs on lusting beds of local dirt
conceiving McIntosh, Spartan, Baldwin

Invent suburban granny Smith of Sydney
who chances upon that bright green one
down the back by the choko & chookyard
where she’s chucked the old apple crate
from Tassie, as you do

Collect & multiply all that germ plasm
as, say, six hundred cultivars & you’ve got
the Winmills’ heritage apple nursery
in country Victoria, now closed by age,
lack of rain, invisible rage of global melt,
where you order your ark of ninety nine
like some hopeful God re-directing flows
to your little patch still blessed with rain

Add steel wire, trellis posts from unknown mills
sweat, equity, word of mouth, texts all flowing
like a river of thought or subtle juice
into your hundred trees laid out
like a harem of hermaphrodites pruned open
to bees, wasps, frosts, the daily dose
of hydrogen bomb that lights & burns us
with tough love as we grow & eat & die

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on March 22, 2014.

6 Responses to “The Apple Orchard as Conceptual Art”

  1. 120 varieties seems very impressive to me and of course you know Korbinian Aigner’s great book about apples and pears already http://www.matthes-seitz-berlin.de/buch/aepfel-und-birnen.html but it is too wonderful not to praise it again.

    • Thanks for that. I have the version of Korbinian Aigner’s collection of apple and pear paintings edited by Willi Votteler: Verzeichnis der Apfel- und Birnensorten, 4th edition published by the Obst- und Gartenbauverlag, Muenchen 1998. A wonderful book, it contains 755 coloured pictures (most of them by Aigner), 1360 descriptions of apple and pear varieties and 3340 double names/variety synonyms. A pomologist’s bible, with an interesting short intro about Aigner’s life and work.

  2. wonderful…all of it…never saw a violet apple before either !

  3. Sure, we have McIntosh here in U.S…but don’t recall them being such a beautiful color…!

  4. Hi, Is it possible to get a stick of the McIntosh apple in Australia? I have an apple tree with many different varieties on it and would love to purchase that one and add it the mother tree if available. Many thanks Kathy Wicks.

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