Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oh Wild Grapes, How Do You Tease Me? Let Me Count The Ways....

Leaves of a domestic grape vine, either a Concord or Niagara

What I thought were infant clusters of wild grapes growing over my Secret Garden by the woods

Number one: you tease me by having a poisonous look-alike. I was so excited a couple weeks ago when I discovered that the "wild grape" vine growing up and over my Secret Garden was absolutely covered with teeny, tiny, wild grapes in hundreds upon hundreds of clusters. Then, I compared the fruit clusters with my Concord grape vine clusters, and the Concords are miles ahead of the "wild grape". And those leaves....the leaves of the "wild grape" look a bit different than "domestic" grape leaves. But hey, these are wild grapes, after all, they're entitled to look a bit different. Then I remembered reading about a fruit that mimics wild grapes and is poisonous. After a quick Internet search, I re-discovered that Common Moonseed (Menispermum canadense) looks a bit like grapes. Upon comparing their leaves to my "wild grapes", I found that, sadly, I have the poisonous Moonseed plant growing over my Secret Garden. I was soooo looking forward to plucking clusters of wild grapes from overhead, and making some wild Concord wine.

Canopy over my shaded Secret Garden is draped with Common Moonseed

Another view of the Secret Garden's canopy with Common Moonseed climbing a drooping wild cherry branch

#2....You're elusive. I know we've got loads of wild grapes growing in our woods, so perhaps I can muster the energy and time and forage for them when they're ripe. We can smell that sweet, grape aroma when we walk in the woods, or down the road by our house on crisp autumn days. And I see the clusters, waaaaaawy up high in the treetops. How on earth am I suppose to get those?!

Perhaps it's a good thing I've got a small vineyard planted, though it's still young and not productive. At least I'll have a source of grapes that I can actually reach and not just a bunch (pun intended) of teasers.

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