Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Wild Grape

The Wild Grape, also known as the Canyon Grape, is a vine that grows like a natural weed on the El Presidio grounds.  It was there when we moved into our home and today, it has taken over a good portion of the front gate.  It grows fast on the property with little to no water and it's a climber.  Grapes in general do very well in Arizona.  You don't have to drive far from Tucson to find vineyards in the village of Sonoita.  These vines make an attractive statement in the landscape here and you'll find many people growing many varieties of grapes. During the summer, it has lovely green leaves producing many grapes while in winter, it lies dormant.  So it shouldn't be a surprise that Arizona has its' own grape variety growing in canyon or riparian areas.  This particular vine will produce singular grapes that taste rather odd.  I'm not sure if they taste pleasant as I can't quite describe the experience......but I did try it out.  The fruit was sweet, but the aftertaste was nasty.  Native birds love the tiny blue-black grape.  This lush and green vine makes for an attractive plant growing near ramadas or trellises.  Our vine hangs in near full sun all day long. Recently it has begun to pop up around the landscape and I am allowing it to mature in different areas to see what it will do.  This vine is said to grow up to 16 feet, but I think it gets larger than this size....especially if there is a water source nearby.   Every winter the vines drop their leaves, but come back again in the summer. One winter I cut the vines down to the ground and they grew back up quickly again during that following summer. I'm glad it grows on the grounds and makes a lovely statement hanging off of the wooden beams.  It's native and requires very little maintenance except for the occassional training of the vine back onto the structures. It can be invasive so be careful where you plant this vine. There will be more information on the different kinds of non native grapes you can plant around town at 3 PM. Until then, a glass of wine sounds good;)

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