Monday, April 30, 2007

Grapes in Carrick

Some varieties of grape vine do rather well in Ayrshire. We grow one under glass, in our cottage garden, but not fully indoors, and the root is outside. Frosts don't seem to do it any harm. It is an old vine, which originally came from a cutting from an even older vine which grew in the garden of a big house in Maybole. Artist Gordon Cockburn who has just moved into the flat above his art gallery in Maybole High Street tells me that there is an old vine in his garden too. Wouldn't it be interesting if some of these grapes date from the years when Maybole was home to the town houses of the old Scottish Kennedy family?
I have no idea of the variety, but it gives many bunches of sweet black seeded grapes, which if I can be bothered to prune the fruit out, grow very large and juicy. Usually there are far more than we can eat. One year somebody made wine from them and gave us a few bottles. More often, we eat what we can, give some away, and leave the rest for the blackbirds who become adept at flying up into the glass roofed 'arbour' where the vine grows, snatching a grape, and flying away to eat it in peace.
Of course at this time of year our vine is only just coming into green leaf. At Culzean, the National Trust for Scotland has restored the lovely old glass houses in the walled garden - and the gardeners have planted many interesting old varieties of grapes in there. The photograph was taken a week ago. The notice reads
Buckland Sweetwater.
Bunches - very large shouldered, ripen early.
Berries - large, round, thin-skinned, golden or amber.
Flesh - melting, juicy, and richly flavoured.
And if that doesn't make your mouth water, nothing will!

No comments: