FIRST BLUEBERRY OF THE SEASON……

As you all know, I love my little balcony garden.

It’s become one of the features of my day and the source of many bird images in the past (now that I can’t do much walking outdoors in nature).

Yesterday, I walked around the rows of pots searching all around each potted plant to see which ones required some maintenance, or I might have to replace (since my week’s absence in hospital early October) AND the ferocious winds of more recent weeks.

To my surprise, I spotted the first ripe blueberry of the season and hurried indoors to get my camera and a short 17-50mm lens to capture it.

(Of course, then I promptly ate it  😀  )

I searched the whole bush thoroughly but this was the only ripe, sweet, luscious little ‘gem’.

 I have to say that despite the hundreds of flowers this Spring, many of which blew off in the strong wind,  the plant doesn’t look as healthy as the same time last year.

I couldn’t find any photos of ripe fruit around this time in 2018 at all, so maybe this was a ‘once-off ‘ yesterday.

Last year, I bought some cotton netting to protect the fruit from the birds but the Superb Fairy-wrens ignored that totally and were still able to peck through the gaps, so I gave my netting to my brother for his orchard and tried to find out whether you could grow potted Blueberry bushes indoors.

It seems you can,  so I shall soon move the bush indoors to the corner of the lounge which is full of light and move the Peace Lily aside.   I think the corner of the room where the Peace Lily is located (below) will be the best spot as my desk & printers take up the right-hand side of the room.

THIS IMAGE WAS MADE IN EARLY SPRING WHEN THE GREEN PEST CONTROL NET CAGE WAS PROTECTING MY YOUNG SEEDLINGS.  UNFORTUNATELY, THIS NET IS TOO LOW FOR THE CURRENT BLUEBERRY BUSH.

The image below was made the same time last year and reveals the green fruit were much larger than yesterday.

I’ve had so many birds in the garden landing on the Blueberry bush this morning, I suspect the birds know that there will be ripe fruit very soon.  In fact, I’ve had more avian visitors this morning, than for the last 3 weeks 🙂

I don’t mind sharing my plentiful herbs, but blueberries….well, I want all that I can grow for my breakfast, so ‘claws off’ little Wrens (and Sparrows)!

BLUEBERRY ‘NELLIE KELLY’ (Vaccinium x corymbusm x ashei x darrowi)

I noticed the flowers are starting to form on my Blueberry bush last week.  Seems so odd for the start of the 3rd month of Autumn.

Somehow I always associate new buds and flowers with Spring.

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I now have (most) of my images exported to my new iMac, but they are in one large folder, so I hope you’ll be patient while I sent up my whole image filing system again.  Seems to be about 10,000+ and while you may think this a large task, I know I’ll get it done sooner (rather than later) as I deleted 2154 in just a few hours on Monday.

The speed of this new computer is amazing!

I can’t find the Bird images I wanted to share today, so for the time being, I hope the Bird Lovers following my blog will have lots and lots of patience.

 

If you learn to enjoy waiting, you don’t have to wait to enjoy.

Kazuaki Tanahashi

NO EXPLANATION NEEDED

If you’ve been following my nature blog and reading about my balcony garden exploits in the past, you’ll be pleased to hear…..

I saw a BLUE berry yesterday…….

Then I turned over leaves where I knew bundles of green berries had been hiding…….

Ate all the 6-7 berries straight off the bush……and then went to get the cotton bird netting to cover it.  Only comment I can say is that I hope the rest ripen through the netting.

…..and I hope, what I suspect is……the plant is pot-bound and that doesn’t affect the future ripening.  If the bush grows much larger, I’ll have to give it to my brother to plant in the ground up at his farm.

I suppose I should cut off a piece, but since it was a small roll of netting, I’ve just bundled the excess up with a rubber band and left it on the ground.

Whoopee! 😀

Blueberries for Christmas.

WAITING…..

“If you learn to enjoy waiting, you don’t have to wait to enjoy”

Kabuki Tanahashi

Waiting for my Blueberry fruit to ripen has been one of the longest waits in recent years.

It has so many berries on such a small bush.

In the meantime, I’m still buying punnets of blueberries at the nearby supermarket which are cheap enough,  just not the same as growing your own 🙂 , especially as this is my first attempt at growing this plant on my west-facing apartment balcony.

I keep imagining going outdoors to pick some berries for my breakfast and can’t seem to get the image out of my head.

The photo below, made when I first bought the tiny plant, (when it was only a few inches high), was dated the 19th December, 2017, so I figure I have at least 3 more weeks to wait…..maybe less?   That tiny plant yielded about 20 berries in total, which surprised me at the time,  as Mr Google says most blueberries take 2 years to bear fruit.

1st sign of blueberries 19th December, 2017

BLUEBERRY ‘NELLIE KELLY’ (Vaccinium x corymbusm x ashei x darrowi)

 

rain falling softly

droplets on leaves

thirst quenched

 

I woke up to the steady patter of rain yesterday morning.  We need rain badly, especially as September was the driest start to Spring on record.  But the soft rain dwindled out mid-to-late morning.

IMAGE MADE THROUGH MY DUSTY WINDOWS AND YOU CAN FAINTLY SEE THE WHITE RAIN STREAKS IN THE BACKGROUND DUE TO THE SHUTTER SPEED I USED AT THAT TIME.

I’ve had an eagle eye on my Blueberry bush on my balcony.

…..waiting for the formation of fruit, so I can put the newly purchased cotton netting over it to deter birds snacking.

It’s about 15″ high and the same amount wide, although a little lop-sided as I probably forgot to keep turning it every 2nd day so it grew evenly (towards the west-facing light).

(I vaguely remember pruning a few wayward branches off too, which probably didn’t help).

“The Nellie Kelly Blueberry (Sunshine Blue) is a delightful, evergreen bush that grows to 1 metre, producing pink flowers during the winter and delectable fruit in late spring and summer. The bush is frost tolerant and needs to be planted in areas where overnight temperatures drop below 5C degrees during winter as this helps to promote the flowers”.

…and flowers I’ve had in the hundreds this year.

PHOTO MADE A FEW DAYS AGO TO SHOW AT WHAT STAGE I THINK THE FRUITING IS AT.  I presume those 2 bell-shaped things are the start to fruit?

But, does this mean I’ll get hundred of luscious blueberries?  Who knows.  I don’t have enough gardening experience to be certain.

My (experienced) gardener brother said my dozen or so miserable berry crop last year were probably due to the birds raiding the newly formed fruit (before I was out of bed? 🙂 ).

Some websites I read last year said Blueberries don’t fruit until the 2nd year, but I guess that depends on the variety.  When I first bought this small plant, I got about 20 berries before it had even started to grow.

I remember being quite excited at the time as I’d never grown a Blueberry bush before.

“Nellie Kelly Blueberries are suitable for either garden beds or large pots where they will get part sun. They will last 10 to 15 years and produce up to 4 kilograms of fruit a season”

This sounds promising 🙂