Wild Fruit

Wild grape vine found growing along the Colonial Parkway

Wild grape vine found growing along the Colonial Parkway

Have you ever eaten wild fruit, picked from seeming “weeds” growing wild?

There are those who believe wild fruits are the sweetest…. or is that my conditioning from an adolescence lived in the 1970s speaking up again?

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(Yes, my ears still perk up when I hear the languid strains of  “Afternoon Delights” by the Starland Vocal Band.)

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If you’ve ever picked wild blackberries and eaten them while still warm from the sun, you understand.

There was a time when I could locate every wild blackberry patch and Sassafrass tree within biking distance.

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Mother didn’t so much ask where those berries came from, as she set about making a crust for the cobbler we would enjoy after dinner.

Oh, how delicious those cobblers tasted drenched with melting vanilla ice cream.

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Somehow my best summer memories include freshly picked blueberries or peaches; apples from our own trees; blackberries, or hidden grapes left behind by the birds.

Wild Muscadine grapes

Wild Muscadine grapes

These blackberries and grapes grow along the Colonial Parkway.

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Protected by the National Park service, they are there for the wild creatures who live nearby.  So no, we didn’t gather or sample….

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Grapes grow here in abundance, popping up as though by “magic.”

Another gift of nature, ready to offer up their sweetness, if only allowed to grow.

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Last autumn we bought  some  Muscadine grapes, a species native to this area of Virginia, from our favorite farm stand.  And you know what I did with those seeds now, don’t you?

And, yes, I’m finding tiny little starts of vines popping up in the many places I scattered them.

Not edible; in fact poisonous, these berries grow among the grapes.  I believe they are called "Canada Moonseed."

Not edible; in fact poisonous, these berries grow among the grapes. I believe they are called “Canada Moonseed.”

You see, our plan is to grow a little “wild fruit” of our own here in our forest garden.

Poisonous, but still pretty.  These vines are semi-evergreen, and grow to great heights in the trees.  These berries will turn dark purple by fall.

Poisonous, but still pretty. These vines are semi-evergreen, and grow to great heights in the trees. These berries will turn dark purple by fall.

There are “wild” blackberry vines growing now along the fence line in the edge of the ravine.

And grape vines one day will cover the stump in the center of our “stump garden.”

Our "stump garden" is coming along well.  I hope our own Muscadine grape vines will grow on the stump, replacing the Virginia Creeper growing up the stump at the moment.  Virginia Creeper produces berries loved by birds.

Our “stump garden” is coming along well. I hope our own Muscadine grape vines will grow on the stump, replacing the Virginia Creeper growing up the stump at the moment. Virginia Creeper produces berries loved by birds.

Perhaps that is the lesson learned in one’s fifth decade on the planet:  “Wild fruit is still the sweetest; but it is best when eaten from your own garden.”

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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Inspired by Ed’s Sunday Stills:  Macro  Since we took these photos on Sunday, perhaps they’ll count 😉  And Ed, you’re right- so much “macro” to enjoy beyond flowers and bugs.  But I still included the shot with the spider.

Please also enjoy Cee’s Sunday Stills for some fascinating photos.

 

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

15 responses to “Wild Fruit

  1. wow, blackberries already! I love eating blackberries but ours are about 3 weeks behind yours. The bushes I noticed just the other day are all still small and green. It won’t be long for the wild Muscadine grapes too 🙂
    Love all your pictures!

  2. Last summer we gathered up pails and headed to a giant bramble in a nearby field. And we started picking berries but then heard rustling down under the canes, only to spy a skunk. Egad. We got the heck out of there and fast. Sometimes the reality of country living clashes with my romantic ideals.

  3. I am now eager for some berry picking. It looks like there are a lot of thimbleberry blossoms–a local berry delicacy–so maybe there will be enough for jam this year. Or sun-warmed afternoon delight.

  4. All this talk of wild berries and cobbler is making me hungry!

  5. There is certainly nothing compared to picking and eating berries from the wild. Your post made me miss our yearly harvest of “Wine Berries”. There was a huge patch near my friend’s house. I had never heard of them before until coming to this part of Virginia. They are so beautiful – like gems – and absolutely addictive. Unfortunately, her lawn service mowed the whole patch down thinking they were weeds!

    • Too sad for words! A similiar experience in a former garden when a next door neighbor decided to replace their fence without talking with me first. My stand of muscadines was entwined with it, which they discovered when they started pulling it down. The grapes eventually recovered, as the roots remained, but it took several years. No grapes that season…. I hope you can find some starts of “Wine Berries” for your own garden- or something you enjoy just as much. You are living in prime grape country for our region 😉 Cheers! WG

  6. Love wild blackberries, muscadines, and scuppernongs!

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