Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's amazing what you discover in your own yard

Sometimes I wonder if I'm so much of a city kid that it takes a long time for me to notice natural things. Or maybe, just maybe, my yard is changing before my eyes.

Last summer, our friends Johnnie and Michele came over when we were planting our garden in the yard, and pointed out that the two bushes near the garden spot were blueberry bushes. I couldn't figure out how I had missed that the year before, since I love blueberries.

Last year most of the blueberries that grew were eaten by the deer as soon as they started to ripen, and those that weren't eaten by deer were rather bitter in taste. It's possible the deer had eaten them all the year before, so we hadn't noticed.

This year, the deer have oddly left the berries alone (and we've seen them running around the neighborhood, so they're still here). Not only that, but the berries that ripened have been nice and sweet. I've already speculated that the deer dislike the smell of the coffee grounds we used to fertilize the garden--which also may be the reason for the improved berry crop. My daughter found a bush in another part of the yard that still bears a tag reading, "blueberry plant." The latter grew no berries, so I definitely think our cultivation of the general area of the two fruitful bushes has had an effect.

My daughter found something else this year: a tree in our year bearing what my neighbor informs me are Italian plums. Again, how did I miss this the past two years? Unpicked fruit trees usually results in rotten fruit on the ground, and I certainly have done my share of raking and yard work! So far, the plums are hard and bitter, even the purple ones, so we'll see if they improve as fall approaches.

And best of all, my husband discovered a blackberry bush when he was mowing the lawn! It's growing up among the shrubs that border our yard, so he's pretty sure they're wild berries that weren't intentionally planted. He used his garden gloves to pull a bunch of braches out of the shrubs and into the yard. Daughter and I collected enough to make two dozen blackberry tarts!

Discovering all this fruit growing in our yard has been a delight. I think of the words from the movie Jurassic Park (used in an entirely different context, of course, but they can apply here): "Nature always finds a way."

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