I hope one day to track down the persian poem on a pomegranite, to which Lucy referred here last time I mentioned the fruit. I am reminded that poemegranites, in fact, originate in Iran, where they still grow wild today. They areused in persian cooking in poultry and game dishes. The fruit of the wild tree is apparently very sour. The fruit is mentioned in the Bible (Dueteronomy 8:8, and notably in the Song of Solomon). It is to be found, too, in Greek myth. Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of fruit and fertility, was carried off to the underworld by its god Pluto. Persephone vowed not to eat, while in Pluto's kingdom. But she forgot, for a moment, and took a mouthful of pomegranite seeds. Rememembering her vow, she spat them out, all, that is, except six seeds. For the price of those six seeds, she had to spend six months every year with Pluto, but was allowed to return to this world for the remaining six. And she does return, of course, every year at about this time, bringing Spring and Summer with her.
My strapping son Toby has come to my rescue in the vegetable garden, neglected all winter as a result of my hernia. He has spent all day preparing the beds for sowing. Potatoes are now in the ground and salad leaves and lettuce are sown.
There is an expensive gardening shop in Chapel Place. It sells what look like hand-crafted garden implements and various items of gardening clothing, which seem to belong to movies of the 1930s - floppy hats and leather aprons, that sort of thing. This year, they are selling Italian seeds. I buy a packet of a plum-shaped tomato variety called Rio Grande, which I sow today in seed trays in the greenhouse, my first bit of gardening since my operation.