Monday, September 7, 2009
Earthside Story Continues -- California Wild Grapes
These are California wild grapes growing at the Earthside Nature Center across the wash from Eaton Blanche Park. I've been watching these for months now, waiting for them to ripen up. And here they are. They are surprisingly tasty little things. They have a small seed in the middle, not much pulp, and resemble (to this connoisseur -pronounced with a long "e") a very light sweet concord grape.
The vines plainly had been loaded. Many grapes, however, have already turned into raisins. Others have been eaten by birds. But, plenty ripe purple fruit remains. We had alot of fun sampling the wild grapes and even some wild grape raisins.
Earthside was a nationally known native plant garden, but has not been tended since about 1996. That means these grapes have not been irrigated for a long long time. No matter. These have flourished on their own.
I took this picture last May and it shows how the vines sprawl over the fence at the northern edge of Earthside. Reportedly California wild grapes aren't good wine grapes. We may test that out. However, the wild grape is strong and disease resistant and is used as rootstock for wine grapes.
Bonus picture of Mt. Wilson from the nature center kiosk. Two dead redwood trees have been removed opening up this vista. As you can see, the transmission towers high atop Mt. Wilson still stand.
Extra bonus shot. Here's a bench under a sycamore where you can eat your wild grapes. As you can see, a tractor has turned under much of the brush that took over the garden this summer.