Sunday, December 18, 2005


Icy drizzle outside. In these darkest weeks of the year, even the slightest color jumps out against the grey-white scene. That's how I noticed a lone coralberry along the fencerow. It's loaded with dark maroon berries, the tallest and most heavily fruited example I've ever seen. All the rain may have helped; this was a wet year aside from September. There used to be a lot more coralberry, which my mother called Indian shoestring, along the road banks, but never this size or quality. I've never understood the 'coral' designation; before they freeze, the berries (technically drupes) are a fuchsia-pink, later maroon. I think of coral as an orange-influenced color, like salmon only rosier.

I brought in some of the branches for cheer in the kitchen, and will try to start plants from the seeds later on. Could be a long wait for this shiftless (and greenhouse-less and cold-frameless) gardener:

best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months warm then 5 months cold stratification. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. link



At 12:44 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Thomas Nephew said...

OK, I've got to ask: did you know the "berries" were actually "drupes" before you posted this? I'd never even heard of the word -- not that I'm a big botanist or gardener, but I know this and that.

I look forward to more of your posts. This one was nice, I like the change of pace from the grim stuff and the political stuff; makes me want to try that too.

At 8:38 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Nell said...

Not only did I not know, I can't tell you the botanical difference between berries and drupes even now! But I did know the word. I'll follow your link after posting this.

Sorry for the silence. The whole thing was just a little experiment to see if I could, and then the news got so grim that in order to have any holiday at all I had to go to the plants.

Eli Stephens at LeftI on the News, so often grim as we on the left can be, posted a beautiful series of his own photos during the dark days. My favorite.


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