I like to explain my successes to my readers. But as you would guess there are some of what would currently be called failures in starting the food forest, some with no success in sight.
A book I’ve been reading lately covers silent evidence -evidence that is never talked about because it is a failure or evidence buried under the sands of time and unknown. I mention this because perhaps such is the case for wineberry?
Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius) fruits on second year canes, this year being the third year my canes have been old enough to fruit but haven’t. The first two years late frost killed the second year canes (very frost sensitive), the later canes for that year coming up strong.
This year frost wasn’t to blame. Leaves grew, buds grew, and I was very excited to finally get fruit. In the heat of summer, after growing some very promising looking buds, they are shriveling up and dying without handing over a single druplet. The first year canes look fine.
They’re even in the really happy guild where I have had success getting fruit from the apple (fruiting again this year) and turnip rooted chervil, among others. From what I’ve read about its culture, this site should be kind to it. It’s an invasive species here in several states, although not in my area (yet). I would prefer to not wait until it intoduces itself as a weed in my area to finally get some fruit.
There is an especially good article here about the wonderful production it maintains in shade. Flavor is supposed to be very good too. I have yet to come across information about it being finicky and never making a solitary fruit.
I have very few theories what the problem could be accept some strange disease which I have yet to find the name of.
I find the canes’ furry red spines rather attractive as a winter and spring interest, and the canes’ premature deaths make more mulch for the guild without my giving any attention to pruning. So why not keep them in hopes some year they will decide they’re ready to fruit? Until then, I thought I’d start the conversation about what seems to be a rare problem.