Saturday, 3 October 2009

Bonsai vs Grapes: The Garden Wars

So what exactly did the summer bring me? Trouble & strife in the garden, is what. All under the leafy shade of the pergola where several bonsai maples, a couple of yews and rather a few Satsuki azaleas were quietly minding their own business.

Which of course the grape vine was doing as well.

Except, when the interests of the two groups collide, then we have - the vegetative Clash of the Titans. You got it.

After all, some would say the whole of Nature is just one big fight for territorial dominance. And as the photos taken a few weeks ago show, this corner of the garden was no exception.

The Kiyohime maple is visible in the top photo, and a few seven-lobed Japanese maple leaves (we are still trying to identify the variety) are barely visible in the foreground.

One of the yews is in the rear of the photo. And the big ole grape vine is just protecting these guys from the wind and the scorching sun. Not that that's stopped the Kiyohime from leaf burn this summer.

The grape vine was planted about five years ago, and it started seriously producing fruit in abundance last year. The second photo shows the other side of the pergola, where the grape bunches are a lot fuller, given the lack of competition for light, space or air.

Third photo along just goes to show what a little good weather can do for ripening fruit. Although, the Med we are not... yet.

The freakish sunny weather that hung around for most of September and into the first days of October has seen a lot of late spurts of growth in the bonsai and kusamono.

Most of the maples in the garden are still in full leaf. The seven-lobed maple was the first to go into glorious autumn colour and is now starting to lose its leaves. All the other maples have ignored it and are doing their own thing, i.e. growing like crazy. A few lazy sods like the chaenomeles and wisteria have just rolled over and are now doing the plant equivalent of snoring their heads off.

Bonsai shows have slowed down a bit in this part of the world. Our local societies have done a few appearances in conjunction with local craft & trade fairs - which I feel is a very good thing. Better to bring the word to the general public rather than preach to the converted.

Last photo shows the seven-lobed maple as it started to turn into its autumn colour. There's still a lot of work that needs to go into this tree before it's even remotely show-ready. The ramification is nondescript and the crown of the tree is blah. So all it has to recommend itself at this point is a few weeks of fiery display. Of course, it keeps getting bombarded by falling grapes, which sort of cuts the autumn display time down by quite a bit as well.

Nothing like getting clonked on the head by some rotting fruit to get your status in life in perspective, is what I say.

So what's in store for the grapes? Not wine, in any case. For nothing am I rolling out the oak barrels to tread on these suckers barefoot. But apparently they are quite good eating grapes, so there you go.

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