Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bramble wrangling

I may have mentioned the luxuriant undergrowth rapidly overtaking what´s left of the barn.

These pics were from the one and only snowfall in January.  I got out there at the crack of dawn to record it for posterity figuring it might not happen again.

Now normally goats would probably be the solution to rampant brambles, but they eat the leaves and then the plants eventually die.  Not quite the fast response we´re looking for.  And we´re not set up for livestock, at all.

So I bought a sharpening stone, took up my trusty sickle and headed out for some bramble wrangling.

This is a spot I had my eye on for a chicken coop/compost area.  Already has low walls, good sun exposure.

But then the hacking revealed this:

Grapes!  They were scarmbling along the wall and climbing the walnut tree.  So I got them down (some 20 feet long) and untangled and now am considering my arbor options.  Does anyone know if grapes will root from where the canes/vines touch the ground?  There´s one good sized root at the barn end pictured, and then 2 spots further along the wall where it´s growing out of the ground.

And underneath it all was something in bloom!  I glimpsed this last year, but didn´t really investigate.  Turns out there´s a flowering bush, caught between an overzealous Elder (I think) and being crushed under a fallen chestnut beam.  I hoped it was some kind of fruit, quince or something, but when I asked the neighbors I was told it´s a flowering shrub, nothing edible.  Thoughts?

Other signs spring has sprung.  These yellow flowers I´m hoping are primroses and not creeping buttercup or other evil minion.

And the daffs I planted right after we bought the place.  Haven´t seen them since!


  1. Hello! I believe your flowering bush is what is referred to as 'japonica" or Japanese quince. It is belongs to the Chaenomeles genus, and although certain do produce fruit, mainly for medicinal purposes, those found in home gardens are purely ornamental. With proper care, it should be quite spectacular in the spring. As for the grape vine, yes, you can plant it directly into the soil. I once stopped at a vineyard in Missouri and the vintner told be that after pruning they sold the twigs in bulk to interested parties precisely for that purpose. You just want to be certain that it's not a wild grape vine, which will quickly become out of control and produce very small grapes at most! Best of luck!

  2. As above, it is Japonica, the fruit is hard and astringent but softens after frost, it makes a very good liquor , or you can use it to make jelly or a marmalade, it sets very well, is very high in pectin and higher in vitamin c than lemons. It makes a lovely early splash of colour in the garden and can cover a wall or fence well. be careful of it's spines, they are sharp and painful! A lovely find.

  3. Thank you! As no one has lived here in 30 years, I´ll assume it´s the kind that gives fruit. Now to figure out how to get the beam lifted off the poor thing. It´s so pretty.

    There were green grapes last fall, up in the walnut tree. I´ll rig up some kind of an arbor and see what happens when they receive a certain amount of maintenance.

    I guess one of the benefits of doing this by hand instead of hiring it out or going at it with a machine is making these little discoveries.

    I love living here. I bought an azada yesterday. :)

  4. Spanish hoe. Available from the evil empire:

    And yesterday I found a rose, too! Unfortunately, only after decapitating two canes. Will try to root them.

  5. As long as the root is intact and there are little nodes on the remaining stems the rose will probably recover, the yellow flower in your photos looks like a celandine, can you take a picture of it's leaves, if they are shaped like a spade on a deck of cards and shiny they are celandines.