There! Those beauties got your attention, didn’t they? 😉
This is a story of another love/hate relationship (my camera, my hydrangeas..etc) in my life. Well, hate may be a bit too strong of a word, but it sounds better than love/strong dislike. I love berries. I can’t think of a berry I don’t like as I sit here typing. Years ago, my husband came home from Home Depot or Lowe’s or some manly place like that with a very innocent looking little 6-pack of raspberry plants. Hubby not being much of a fruit-eater, I was pleased he wanted to make this addition to my backyard garden. I had already planted some seedless concord grape vines on the side of our house, and there was some space left between the grapes and our deck where I thought the raspberries would fit nicely. I don’t think we got many berries that first year, but the plants did nicely and continued to grow each year. Now this is what they look like:
That innocent little 6-pack has turned into a ginormous, roving, monster of a berry beast! Those are my grapevines in the background of the shot, climbing the house. The raspberries have invaded the grapes’ space, my lawn ( I run over small shoots each time I mow) and my deck:
Each year I cut them back, but each year they keep coming! Their invasive nature is the “strong dislike” part of this story, but every year, I forgive them because I get this:
Aren’t they beautiful? Like everything else this year, the raspberries are early, robust and bountiful. Back in the beginning of the month, I took this shot:
I was very excited about what was coming. I normally don’t pick raspberries until July. For at least the past week or so, my daughter has been picking a bowlful like this on a daily basis:
(I included the shot with “Blue’s Clues” on the bowl because I think its kinda funny. My daughters are teenagers now, but we still have this bowl from one of their favorite shows when they were little.)
And now for the “not” part of the story. Two years ago my sister gave me some strawberry plants from her huge patch, which also began with an innocent little 6-pack brought home from the store by her husband ( I think – correct me if I’m wrong, Jennifer). The patch has come to be known as “Larry’s Berries” over the years. But I digress. With my vegetable garden taking up all the space to one side of my deck and raspberries and grapes on the other, I needed a place for the strawberries. I didn’t want to add them to the end of my veggie garden because Larry’s Berries have ended up taking up a prodigious amount of space in Jennifer’s garden. The space near the back of my house and deck is the sunniest in my yard, so I wished to reserve it for my veggies. The next sunniest space is where our above ground pool is
..so I decided to create a small space to the side of it to create what I was sure would be my very own bountiful strawberry patch
The plants grew pretty well. This is our third year with the plants and it was looking good this spring, with lots of blossoms and tiny berries:
This area is a bit further away from the house, closer to the wooded area of the yard. Last year, the few berries we got were eaten by critters, I’m thinking chipmunks, despite the bird netting we protected them with. We tried a new strategy with the netting this year, but didn’t have enough to cover the whole patch because it had indeed grown in size. Hubby promised to get me some more and finish covering it over while I was at work. Well, things happen, and the netting was never fully put in place. I’m not sure this netting would have even saved our little patch. Critters can be fairly industrious and this is what we ended up with for strawberries this year:
I’m thinking maybe I should find a new place for my strawberry patch next year!
Oh well, I’ll enjoy my raspberries for as long as we can pick them. Because of their delicate nature, raspberries don’t seem to keep long enough for me to gather enough to cook something wonderful from them. I just have to eat them! Bummer, huh?