Category Archives: Berries

Illinois Everbearing Mulberries

After a 15 year wait, I was finally able to harvest a few mulberries last year, see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=23040 
In the winter I was sent 4 cuttings of the variety Illinois Everbearing which everyone raves about! I’m not much of a grafter and in fact I can now report my first success as all 4 are alive! I’d actually given up when I noticed green buds on 3 of them a few weeks ago and then last week I saw the 4th that I had missed that even had berries!
I’m wondering, what chance the ones in bud have in making it through the winter and I should maybe remove the fruit and flowers now appearing on another?

Towards a record early harvest

This summer we’ve experienced a big swing in temperatures from one month to the next…from a record cold May to a record warm June followed by most of July being also record cold. The warmth in June straight after planting my runner beans on 11th (later than normal) resulted in quick growth and by the end of July the earliest variety, two-toned Painted Lady was already in flower, a month earlier than a normal year (if there is such a thing as normal anymore)….so maybe we are heading for a record crop, where runner beans are marginal and almost never give a good sized crop:

My courgettes (zucchini), planted out on 14th June on my shady composting area (no more than 2 hours of direct sunshine) also started cropping very early at the end of August:


Finally, I was surprised when folk told me last year that their Worcesterberries (a selection of Ribes divaricatum) ripened in July.  I’m usually eating mine from the middle of September to the first frosts late in October, but they are also turning colour already:




Bumble bee in snow

I didn’t expect to find a bumble bee feeding first thing this morning but I found this Bombus hypnorum (tree bumblebee/trehumle) busy visiting flowers of Ribes divaricatum and its selection Worcesterberry. The air temperature was about freezing…





Yew for redwing

I planted a yew (Taxus x meda “Hicksii”) next to the kitchen window mainly for the birds some 20 years ago and the berries  regularly attract blackbirds, fieldfares, robin, blackcap, waxwings and as here a redwing only about 1-2m from me!
Norsk: Svarttrost, gråtrost, rødstrupe, munk, sidensvans og rødvingetrost!

Waxwings: soon on the way south?

I also grow Viburnum opulus (krossved) near to the house. This is an uncommon wild species around here. The berries aren’t the first choice for waxwings (sidensvans), but keep the birds around later in the year as they start on them as soon as other berries they prefer are gone. These berries are now gone (a flock of 300 birds doesn’t take long).

Here the waxwings join a large flock of bramblings (bjørkefink) and a few other species at the feeding station.

Maximum waxwings

I never weary of watching waxwings (sidensvans). Here are 3 videos from snowy Monday this week when one of the biggest flocks this winter descended on the garden with some 330 birds estimated from the first video below, many of which fed on the last elderberries (second and third videos below)!
NB! The windows are now clean :)

More waxwings

More waxwing (sidensvans) videos from the garden.
1)  Eating elderberries
2) Displaying flycatching skills
3) A dazed bird on the ground outside the front door; presumably it collided with the house in a drunken state…it ended well, flying off after the video ends.

Female blackaps

A female blackcap (munk) was feeding on rowan berries below the house this morning. I see blackcaps a few times every winter nowadays, an increasingly common overwintering bird, thanks to artificial feeding and berries in gardens. They even manage to overwinter at close to 70 degrees north in Tromsø. The map shows all the January observations of blackcaps in Norway in January. Remember that there is only twilight in Tromsø at that time of year. There’s even one observation of a bird sitting in a rowan tree, illuminated by xmas lights, eating the berries and singing on 6th January 2018!
A much better video taken the day after. This bird was catching insects. Right at the end a second female arrives…I hadn’t noticed this at the time!