Monday, September 1, 2008

Autumn harvest

About five years ago we spent some money turning our backyard into a garden. Where previously there was a hill of sun-baked dirt, roasting in the southwestern sun and in the reflection of the sun on our windows, we built a deck with a shade structure, and planted a jacaranda tree. We planted three vines on the structure - a wisteria, a clematis, and an ornamental grapevine.

This grape, vitis vinifera purpurea, was well known to me from gardening in Seattle. Many gardeners used it, for its beautiful leaves turned bright crimson in the autumn. Seattle gardeners, though were always quick to point out that it was only an ornamental grape - it didn't bear fruit, or, if it did it was inedible.

Well, maybe in Seattle. I should have known that in Southern California's climate, it would be another story. Our grapevine is climbing up the structure and into the jacaranda. Huge, tightly packed bunches of fruit are festooned in the tree's leaves. They hang down through the structure itself, in fat, dark purple clusters.

The fruit is small - not quite as big as the Red Flame seedless grapes you see in the supermarket, and not quite as small as the fancy little so-called "champagne" grapes they sell in high-end food stores or decorate catering tables with.

But they are beautiful - deep blue-purple, with a bloom on them. And rich, sweet, dark juice the color of red wine.


SUEB0B said...

My father was born in Los Olivos in 1918. He told me about growing up with 7 kids in a small house, so they would often eat outside in warm weather under a sheltering grapevine. Then they would eat, sell or trade the grapes for food.

Your grapes are lovely.

Vallen said...

Those photos are beautiful - they show a quintessential California autumn. I just think it is the smartest thing to have edibles growing in ones yard - what a treat!!!

KathyR said...

Did someone say "wine?"

Lovely stuff here.

CIELO said...

What a beautiful blog you have! Indeed, Fall is upon us! and thank you for stopping by my blog for Pink Saturday! and by the way, hope you could participate in our Enchanting Window Party.... only thing you need to do is show us your favorite window in your home.... it promises to be fun!

Marina Capano said...

Hi! Nice post!I have an award for you on my post today. The post is called Spring time. Please stop by and take it home. Have a lovely day. Marina

JCK said...

How fun to have your own harvest!