Garden lore

“The gardener has a great faith in names; a flower without a name, to put it platonically, is a flower without a metaphysical idea; in short, it has not a right and absolute reality. A flower without a name is a weed.”

The Gardener’s Year
by Karel Čapek (d. 1938)

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Summer grapes

Grapes are not a fruiting vine that can be left to their own devices if you want a harvest. They need hard pruning in winter and a follow up in summer. If you haven’t yet summer pruned your grape, then get onto it immediately. Cut all the laterals (side growths) back to six leaves. This allows light to reach the bunches of fruit and concentrates the plant’s energies on ripening the fruit rather than supporting extra foliage.

At the first signs of the fruit ripening, get bird netting on. Our feathered friends rarely wait for fruit to ripen to the stage humans prefer. If you can keep the birds from pecking the fruit, it will reduce their attractiveness to wasps.

By far the most successful, outdoor grape variety we have found in our marginal conditions is Albany Surprise. It is an American hybrid and should grow well in areas which are not known for grape growing because of humidity, rainfall and mild temperatures.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.