||[Sep. 13th, 2008|09:40 am]
When I was little, I tried to grow raspberries. We had a huge yard and down in the back, bottom corner were a few scraggly vines that somehow got established in the hard-packed dirt.|
Raspberries have long been my favorite berry. (Blueberries are a close second.) Plump and ripe, they have a pleasant but not overly sweet flavor and such a wonderful smell, out in the summer sun. As a kid, I was delighted with the idea that we could grow them right there in our yard.
In theory, anyhow. I tried to help the vines by watering them during hot summer weeks and putting down some nicer soil. I was dismayed that the birds were going after them, so dad provided a roll of chicken wire which stretched over them sort of like an awning. It at least kept out the stupider birds which couldn't figure out how to go around under the sides.
The result of all this was about a dozen beautiful raspberries per year. There never seemed to be much more than that and, despite tending to them, the vines never seemed to really grow. They were each one single curl of stalk, brownish around the base and dark green down the length. But there were never more than those few stalks.
Now I live in Washington and berry vines seem to be the state weed! My wife, who's from the Pacific Northwest, never understood my complaint that I couldn't grow raspberries as a kid in California.
The property we own has thick tangles of berry brambles. Vines twice my height are shooting out the top of one of our rhododendrons. And, though birds are still taking their share, these produce prodigious amounts of berries.
On the walk home, I stopped and plucked a little sprig from a bush growing beside the road. That there's juicy, plump berries unclaimed is still a novel concept to me. Around here, we have wild blackberries and some other variety, perhaps marionberry. No sign of raspberries, though. Perhaps I need to start a new bramble?