I Brought Johnny Home

I have always dreamed of having my own apple tree ever since I read the story of Johnny Appleseed as a child. Some years ago I tried my luck raising one but after a month or so it either decided that it didn’t like the tropical urban weather or me. So yesterday I decided to get myself an early birthday present and visited a nursery I had seen a couple of times out in the Potsdam area but never stopped to visit. Unlike the fancier nurseries I usually visit in my corner of Berlin, Baumschule Kania one was more of a “no frills” kind of place in Neu Fahrland, open air, and literally out in the middle of nowhere.

How did I end up out there? Well, I actually went in search of a beekeeper I recently discovered who makes the best honey in the galaxy, sells fruit and vegetables from his own orchard, and has the quintessential Brandenburger humour. If you are not paying attention, you will easily miss the blue van along the side of the highway the runs parallel to the Krampnitzsee (Lake Krampnitz). And how, you might rightly ask, did I even think of scouting this area? Ha! I was aiming to photograph another Lost Place, an abandoned ammunitions factory, but as you can tell from the absence of the article, I ran into security issues, more barbed wire, and electrical fences. On the way back I stopped to buy cherries from Mr. Rene Zart’s van and discovered the honey and jams. Bear in mind that I don’t even like honey that much, simply because my standards are so high that it has to be bloody good to impress me. Nothing store-bought will do. Sorry. I grew up in Mexico in a town where someone delivered a bucket of honey to my mother once a month with a good chunk of the honeycomb still in it and a few errant bees. Decades later I was exposed to homemade honey from the Schwarzwald (Black Forrest) and the world of honey was never the same again. Until now.

Johnny and the Frogs ©MTHerzog

Back to my apple tree… Champagne tagged along for the ride and paraded up and down the rows of plants, stopping to sniff here and there. She was having a ball until she turned the corner and suddenly the leash stopped extending on my end. She had flopped down in her “stranger danger alert” position and would not move another inch in spite of the fact that the poodle in question was more perplexed at her and was at a loss whether to bark, chase or make friends. He had obviously never seen a Persian cat on a leash in a plant nursery… but once back in her backpack and away from the poodle, Champagne did proceed to comment about the assorted trees, turning down (snorting) cherry trees and the smaller apple trees. She eventually rubbed her head at the one I chose and that sealed the deal.

Baby John Downies ©MTHerzog

Johnny, my John Downie (variety) apple tree, is not perfect, but it is the crooked imperfections and his short stature that I adore. Plus the fact that he brought along four little apples already! Johnny has taken up residence next to the Countess Rubber Tree and the African Linden Barons. My conservatory is beginning to take on the jungle effect that  I am aiming for! Winter should be interesting this year once all my balcony residents move back in.


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