Friday, June 27, 2008

Uncle Dillon's Grape Vine

Two summers ago, we visited my uncle in northern Florida, and I brought home a tiny grape vine. Now, Uncle Dillon told me I could buy a grape vine much more easily than I could carry this one home to Arkansas on an airplane and set it out in the heat of August. But I value heritage plants above all else. It doesn't matter to me that he bought it down at Wal-Mart, my vine came from his garden (and he has a wonderful one).

So, I set it out. It lost all its leaves and looked quite dead. But it came back to life before the end of fall. It survived the winter and put on leaves nicely the next spring. Then the Easter Freeze of 2007 zapped it. It came back, though, and went wild with growth.

This spring, when it started leafing out, I got out the gardening books and figured out how to prune it. I cut it to one main stem, as directed. It looked pretty pitiful, but then it started growing like mad.

Jump to this week. Skye had a friend over to hang out, swim, and pick blueberries on Wednesday. Her mom just happens to be a daughter of Matt Post, fourth generation owner of Post Familie Vineyards, one of the top wineries in Arkansas. When J spotted it, she went to work on it. I had the good fortune to have Uncle Dillon's grape vine pruned by a Post girl! Now it looks much more orderly, it has two cordons selected, and the tendrils have been trimmed off the main shoot to prevent those from cutting into the wood.

One the down side, J also told me that if the grape vine was a seedling that it will probably never produce grapes. I'm pretty sad about that, as I think it may have indeed been a seedling. So I'll watch, and if it doesn't bloom next year, I'll pull it out and start over with a plant from a nursery. I love those heritage plants, but I love grapes more!

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