Friday, April 21, 2006

Sour grapes

When we moved into our current house a few years back, I put up a chainlink fence to serve as a dog run. And one of the first things I did after that was plant some Orlando seedless grapes in hopes they would overgrow the fence and create an attractive arbor. Not to mention produce edible grapes. I could've gone with something like Champanel or Spanish black, but I wanted grapes that could be eaten off the vine. And the sweet Old World table grapes would be wiped out by Pierce's disease here in Texas. Since Orlando is a newer type with Pierce's resistance, I took a leap of faith and went with them.

They grew fairly well the first year, but the weather was wet and various fungal diseases kept knocking them back. Last summer was rough on them. It was hot and dry, and although I was able to keep disease under control fairly easily, they didn't grow much. In all honesty, I was getting ready to give up on them, deciding they were unsuited for my area. I didn't even prune the side branches back over the winter.

That just shows what I know. Those two Orlandos have exploded with new growth this spring, overrunning the top of the fence with their vigor, something they've never done before. I'm assuming they've finally developed a root system they're happy with. This vigor has caught me completely by surprise, but even moreso, a couple of days ago I found racemes of tiny, baby grapes! I was, suffice to say, elated. I planned to take pics when I got home yesterday and post here for all to marvel at.

Alas, such celebration is not to be. Something--something buggy, I'll wager, but no culprits have been spotted--has devoured almost every single one of my proto-grape. Woe, despair and agony on me! There will be no grape crop for me this year.

All is not sadness in mudville, however. This morning while mourning my lost grapes, I discovered three new shoots for a recently planted incarnata passion vine sprouting up a short way down the fence. If I can somehow manage to protect them from sun scald at this tender stage while reigning in my tendancy to over-water, I'll be one happy camper.

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1 comment:

  1. Jamie, I saw this question on the GW site, and knew it was you from reading your weblog. I wondered if it was possible you had seen the grape flower buds, which look like tiny grapes. If they're not pollinated I think they fall off. There is a pretty cool set of photos showing the grape-growth process at this link:

    Annie/AKA Glinda from the Divas of the Dirt