Mulberries

Aug. 6th, 2011 06:53 pm
watervole: (Default)
Take a peek into my back garden any time in the last few days and you may have seen the curious sight of a middle aged lady half way up a small tree.

I'm not actually testing it out for any grandchildren I may someday have - though it certainly passes the test of being easy to climb.

It's a mulberry tree, and climbing the tree is pretty much the only way to pick most of them.

There's a reason you never see mulberries for sale in shops, in spite of them tasting rather good.



They crop gradually, so you can't pick them all at once.

They're squishy when ripe, so you can't store them.

The juice stains - you'll never get it out of your clothes unless you really want to bleach them.

The fruit tends to be hidden by leaves, so you can't even see it without getting under the branches (which tend to droop down to the ground).

The trees don't bear fruit until they're about five years old.

 The trees don't grow in handy dwarf sizes (and you'd still have the problem of the fruit being under the leaves even if you had a dwarf tree.)

Quite a few years ago, we planted a tiny mulberry tree.  It's now rewarding us with a good crop of fruit, as long as we're prepared to climb the tree and get mulberry juice on our clothes...

Hey, it's an excuse to climb a tree!

This isn't my tree, it's an older one, but it gives you an idea of their low spreading growth.  They have lovely pinky bark and look all gnarly and older than they really are.  They're slow growing and don't get out of control.



 I like my mulberry.  I also grow wild garlic and bluebells under my tree, which have conveniently died down by the time I need to pick the fruit.


Mulberries

Aug. 16th, 2009 03:30 pm
watervole: (Default)
Who among you has ever tasted a mulberry?

You'll never see them for sale commercially - the trees take about five years to bear any fruit; the fruit are so squishy that they'd never survive transport anywhere without going bad almost instantly; the juice can stain deep red/purple with just a drop and to top all that, they're darned difficult to reach and pick.

However, they do taste rather good...  Like a large squishy, purple raspberry that grows on a tree.

There are a few trees in this country that are said to be a legacy of attempts at the silk industry.

The last tree surviving in Poole was planted at the instigation of the R'end Peter William Jolliffe, longest serving rector of St James. Planted by various landovers to provide the Hugenots with the source of silk industry, it was the Mulberry that fed the silkworms. In this century, this particular specimen was saved by the vigilant flat occupiers who on witnessing the developer bulldozing the immediate area, called on their ward councillors in time for an injunction to be served, thus permitting the tree to be made safe.

In fact, the black Mulberry is the wrong kind for silk worms.  They like the leaves of the white mulberry tree.

I first tasted mulberries on the tree that used to grow outside Poole baths.  (I've no idea how I knew they were edible - memory has blurred that part of the tale).  Loved them.  Eventually managed to get a tree to grow in our garden. It's now actually bearing enough fruit to be worth it, though it requires real skill to avoid getting your clothes stained and to actually read the berries which grow in very inconvenient places.

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Judith Proctor

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