Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wine and Wreaths
My favorite fall picture is this display of grapes and elderberries. Although these are both ornamentals (Vitis purpurea and Sambucus 'Black Beauty'), you can also grow edible grapes and elderberries. Nearly as pretty, and definately more tasty. Sambucus cearulea, the blue elderberry, grows wild in the mountains of Oregon, but I've seen them for sale in the nurseries as well. They make exceptional jam and wine.
The grapes pictures here have very little taste, but are often added to wine grapes to give the wine a deep red color.
Later in the winter, after the leaves have all dropped and we're sure the sap is down, we cut the grapevines and twist them round themselves to make grapevine wreaths. We also use hops to make wreaths. These should be cut in the early fall before the rains start mold growing on them. Dry them off for a few days and them twist into wreaths. They smell heavenly and make a great fall decoration. Hop vines can also stripped of all foliage and flowers for a sparser wreath and honeysuckle vine also makes a great wreath. Experiment.

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