23 Jul 2010

I wish they’d just organise themselves

As I’ve blogged on previous occasions, I have a small garden. I love it, it’s very special to me, but it’s the size of a postage stamp and everything is grown in pots within a walled courtyard area.

Please click the photographs for a larger view.

As it’s tiny, the more it grows, the less space we have for us. I love eating out there, but the weather hasn’t been suitable for what seems like a lifetime now.

One of my very favourit-ist things to eat is raspberries. Especially naughty and decadent when teamed with something dark and chocolatey.

So for several years, since my husband gave me some sorry looking sticks in a bag of mud one Christmas, I’ve grown a few of my own. When the sunshine is kind, we get quite a yield from 3 large pots of canes.

But there’s the rub, the crop is spread over several weeks, getting a mere handful a day – and if you’re too slow picking them, something else visiting the garden beats you to it. My money is on the blackbird – I already know he loves fruit, as he stands on the bird table yelling at the kitchen window for sultanas if there are none out. So he’s still the prime suspect until I get any evidence to the contrary.

This would be a pretty typical daily haul. less than 10 ripe raspberries and 3 alpine strawberries!

A.K.A. ‘Waterer’s perks':

A considerable number of years ago now, my mother put a little packet of alpine strawberry seeds in my Christmas stocking. You can still buy the same ones, they look like a little book of matches, with pointed sticks of cardboard stuck with a cluster of seeds that you just poke into your compost, to sow. Couldn’t be easier.

I planted them the following spring and have had a garden full of self-seeded alpine strawberries ever since. If a fruit falls off the plant, it seemingly germinates with great efficiency and you find clusters of plants growing in other pots and between them. I now have quite a collection and I just leave them to it, allowing them to fill gaps in the garden. It’s a bonus when you see a bright red spot showing amongst the leaves.

Tiny, delicate Alpine strawberry flowers, some of which are already developing into fruit – photo above taken another year, the one below, in rain, today.

As the fruits are tiny – but super-concentrated flavour – and not that plentiful, they’ve always been known in the Boo household as waterer’s perks – whoever waters the garden of an evening, gets to consume any ripe strawberries they find.

So it has been with raspberries to some extent. But now I have more canes, the yield has increased a little, but it’s still not very efficient – as crops go. At this time of year, we tend to pick a handful each day – not enough for dessert each day for 2 people, as you can see, but I also lack the self-discipline to just pop them in the freezer and allow them to accumulate. My mother however does this and each Boxing Day we have a raspberry flan, as a delicious demonstration of her own self-control.

There may not be very many, but they’re pretty fabulous specimens.

So I just have to force myself to put them with chocolate ice cream and deal with the issue in that manner. But if they could get organised and crop all at the same time, I might not mind sharing with the blackbird quite so much and it would actually be worth buying some extra thick single cream for them.

2 thoughts on “I wish they’d just organise themselves

  1. We’re well blessed with blackbirds here, with several clans, but the high walls of this particular enclosed garden means that birds don’t tend to venture in. But I have found one young female who likes to perch in the ivy on the wall to sunbathe. So my money is on her being the culprit.

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