Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pruning (and eating) Concord Grapes

I am enjoying a huge grape harvest this year. I think I finally understand the pruning technique, to which I attribute my bountiful fruiting. Unfortunately it took a few years to sink in. Our local extension agent, Maurus Brown, specialized in grapes before he moved on and wasn't replaced. While he was in the area I had the pleasure of two of his lectures on grapes. After each lecture I would try to apply his pruning suggestions to my vastly overgrown concord grape vine. This spring I finally felt like I knew what I was doing. There is no substitute for learning proper techniques. Oh yes, it is great fun to shoot the breeze while standing at the grape arbor squeezing grapes into your mouth and spitting out the seeds. I liken it to friends sitting around picking nuts from their shells or sitting on the porch eating watermelon.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tied Hedge

Now here is something you don't see every day, a tied hedge. A recent visit to the Cleveland Botanical Garden revealed the above pictured cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli). At first glance it seemed to be a normal hedge, but a closer look revealed the technique of, rather than cutting off the branches, tying them into the body of the hedge. The staff member I spoke with said it is a bit daunting with the large sharp thorns of this hawthorn. I thought it not only created an interesting affect, but I suppose it is a continuation of a technique used historically on agricultural hedges to bolster their ability to fence in livestock.