Monday, April 16, 2012

The lay of the land

This photo was taken the day we were out hunting for morels.

The giant bushes are the invasive autumn olive. While my talented friend Robin (Rurification blog) makes jam from this plant's berries, we've not yet done so because the birds always beat us to the harvest, and hubby would really rather we eradicated them and substitute in our new favorite fruit: native june berries...which my friend Cake, who is as talented as Robin, helped me identify via her blog.

The reason why we have more autumn olive than we'd like on our property is that the previous owner's hobby was mowing. He would spend every weekend mowing everywhere his tractor could reach. This took down all the saplings of the big trees that we do want, such as hickories and oaks, and the first things that grow back once the mowing stops are the opportunistic buggers like the autumn olives.

There's a lesson to be learned from opportunists...

What's your favorite fruit bearing plant?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

15 comments:

Stacy Davis said...

Hmmm...blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, elderberry, chokecherry. Any fruit really.

TeresaR said...

I know it, Stace: there's no such thing as a bad fruit, really. :)

Robin said...

Juneberries! Cool. I had to look them up. They're the same thing as service berries? I haven't seen them here yet, but maybe someday....

My favorite berries are raspberries, and our native black raspberries are pretty darn good.

TeresaR said...

Robin, yeah, we'd not even noticed them before last year...and then we were wondering what the heck those were. Yup, same as service berries! They're almost as tasty as blueberries and because the trees produce so much more june berries than a blueberry bush, there will actually be enough for us (I hope). We love the native blackberries too! What I love even more is that I can send the boys to pick them and I won't get scratched! Heh.

Sara said...

Mowing as a hobby? Now that's pretty sad... although there are times when I wish my hubby enjoyed it a little bit more. ;) I'm off to look up june berries now and dream about fruit.

TeresaR said...

Sara, incredibly sad! And so wasteful...I mean, really, gas is non-renewal resource so why use it more than you have to. The land is gorgeous when much of it is left to grow into woods. Maybe you can grow potted strawberries while in this current place? :)

Michelle said...

Raspberries & strawberries are my fav's because they are the first fruit I grew successfully. Elderberry because it is one of the few I can identify in the wild. Lol! I never trust my eyes otherwise.

Mowing really is a wrong to the planet isn't it!

TeresaR said...

Have you used elderberries before, M? Hubby keeps thinking we should make jam with it, but we want to find a patch that's not right next to the road or on properly that's been sprayed. I don't think we have enough on our property. Yup, mowing for the sake of mowing is really wrong.

Maureen Sklaroff said...

I definitely vote for removing the non-native invasive plants. I assume, with all your gardening, that your soil is at least healthy? Our house was brand new when we moved in and only after talking with a master gardener about why everything I planted died, did I learn what new construction means for soil. They level the lots by removing the top layer of the soil, with all of the wonderful healthy nutrients in it. Then they drive on the soil with big machinery, so it gets wonderfully compacted. Then they spray it with herbicides and pesticides and throw on some landscaping. End result, horridly compacted, clay, blech. It has taken me 7 years of nurturing the soil here to get it to a healthy level. We actually have earthworms and everything! Of course, we are now attracting blackberries, which are our non-native nightmare.

Michelle said...

I haven't used the elderberry for anything but tincture and syrup. We planted some in our backyard last summer and I've heard it can be a few years before we get berries (is that right?). I'd like to make the jam once we the bushes start producing.

Epicure68 said...

I'd like any plant that would bear fruit in our yard. Like you say, there's no such thing as a bad fruit bearing plant. I'm looking forward to strawberries and raspberries that we planted at dad's place this year. The only plant I'm not crazy over are blackberries, but only because they tend to take over and their thorns are a pain, literally.

Under the Willow said...

I haven't planted berries before, but at a previous property we had an orchard of apple, pear, and peaches. The pears were my favorite, while the apples usually were eaten up by bees. At 10 pm every night a herd of deer would cross our front field and feast on the peaches- they would clean them to the pit!

TeresaR said...

Maureen, luckily for us our area was once farmland/farm fields so it's decent enough soil. The hilltop part of our property we only got several years ago and the previous owner, in addition to mowing, sprayed Round-Up all the time. It was gross. I remember you and I had the blackberries conversation before. I looked it up and I assume yours are the Himalayan ones: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/nwest/msg0613135132580.html They do sound nasty!

Michelle, let me know how the jam-making goes!

Monica, see my link for Maureen above about blackberries. I didn't know that stuff. I think the only bad fruit is one that is inedible by humans. ;)

Carrie, sounds like you fed your wildlife pretty well. LOL! What a great orchard though. Maybe you'll have fruit trees in your future?

Name: Holly Bowne said...

I have fond memories of picking raspberries from the bushes in our backyard and my mom making jam from them.

Oh, wait. Okay, now that I'm thinking about it--maybe the memories weren't so fond. Bees freak me out and I think we were always battling bees when we were out there picking. Heh, heh!

Kathryn Patterson said...

Ironically, I always loved peaches, even before moving to Georgia. :-)