The Peach Walls of Paris
Some might remember that we once had a peach tree in our rear garden in South Boston. Against all odds, it bore bushels and bushels of fruit in late August; so much that we couldn’t keep up with the ripe peaches that dropped from the tree. The consequence was a small lawn slippery with rotting peaches and a chorus of fruit flies that would taunt me from the rim of my wine glass. Our landscape architect-friends told us that the tree did so well because the micro-climate was perfect: our 30’ x 50’ garden faced south and the north of side of walled enclosure was defined by a three-story tall light-colored wall, the side of a triple-decker.
Recently Scheri Fultineer, a lecturer in the landscape architecture department at the Harvard GSD, gave a talk on urban agriculture and showed this image of the peach walls in Paris. According to Scheri, they are still in limited use and being studied for applications in Montreal and elsewhere. The size and proportion of the cell-like spaces in this image proves that our property is the perfect site for a productive garden.
When the peach tree started to decline, we decided to remove it as part of a comprehensive redesign. I miss the tree – but not the fruit flies.