Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sloe start to autumn

A week or two ago my wife noticed that the Blackthorn or Sloe (Prunus spinosa) along the paths out of our village had no fruit on them. She noticed this because now is the time to make sloe gin (an annual affair in our kitchen). Today we noticed that none of the Sloes in our area have berries.

Although I didn't think about it at the time I guess that the poor spring we had (wet and cold) must have coincided with flowering and perhaps a lack of pollinators for the flowers must have prevented fruit set. The plum tree in our garden did very poorly too and the apples failed completely (luckily there was a bumper pear crop - but the pears flowered earlier). We also had very few moths in our moth trap this spring. But I suppose that this isn't a disaster for the Sloe itself - after all Sloes are long lived plants and last year there was a bumper crop. Hopefully there will be again next year too. What about the Sloe gin? Well I am a very lucky man. My wife had frozen part of last seasons foraging and so we have several bottles of sloe gin in the making around the kitchen as I write.

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