Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Planting Memories: Native Raspberries

Have you ever become lost in time as you breathe in the indescribable scent of sweet peas? Have you ever felt as if a child again at the first taste of the freshest sweet corn on the cob? Have you ever remembered a loved one at the unfurling of a treasured rose? Or perhaps you remember hands and lips stained purple from gorging on ripe and irresistible mulberries?  Plants have that magical power to evoke nostalgia and, as a gardener, afford us the opportunity to grow some of those memories in our own gardens.

When I was a young girl, a dear Aunt and Uncle owned a dairy farm in a very wet and very green region in northern Australia. (They still own that farm but they grow tea now as milking cows became unprofitable after dairy industry deregulation.) I visited their farm often, when my mother would collect fresh milk for our family and when we would go to play with our cousins. On one such visit, I remember clambering onto the back of an old ute with my cousins and driving through the paddocks and out to a shady, musty-smelling forest.  On the edges of that forest, we found ruby-red gems growing on prickly stems. We picked them and gobbled them up with great joy (despite the scratches). Those gems were native raspberries (Atherton Raspberries) and I've never forgotten them.

One of the two native raspberries I've planted in my garden.

So, when I saw native raspberry plants at my favourite nursery last weekend, I could not resist bringing two home. They are not Atherton Raspberries, which come from a region some 2000kilometres from here, but a raspberry for the area where I now live. While each plant was just labelled with the very general Native Raspberry tag, I have a feeling I might have Rubus Parvifolius as described at this link about Australia's eight different types of native raspberries.

I have planted my two precious native raspberries in the dappled shade underneath my passionfruit vine. There they will receive filtered sunlight, plenty of water and have room to ramble over the ground. I do hope they will fruit so that I can pick them and gobble them up as I did when a child many years ago.

Do you grow any plants for the memories they evoke in your garden?


p.s. The Happy Earth blog has this very informative page about Atherton Raspberries if you'd like to find out more about them and see their delicious fruits. 


  1. Great memories indeed!
    My nan and pop had a cattle/timber property when I was a child, I think that's where my love of farming comes from (though I am not a farmer, just a backyard enthusiast) pop had wild blackberries growing on his farm, totally invasive weeds that are usually detested and sprayed by farmers, but pop allowed a hedge row of them along one of his paddock fence lines. I have the best memories of picking berries there in the hot summer sun. Mum would stew them and serve them with ice cream, and dad would make them into jam! I was the keenest one in the whole family to go picking them!
    I did plant a thornless blackberry at my place, but it is so vigorous it scares me! The few berries I've had off it are nothing like the ones from home. I cut it back hard last year, but it's come back big time!! I'll have to keep an eye on it!
    BTW thanks for the link to Our Permaculture Life, great post on garden prep!

    1. Blackberries, yum! Your thornless variety just might reward that "enthusiastic haircut" with loads of berries. Then you could make jam to your heart's content:) Thanks for sharing such a happy memory. Meg:)

  2. I have two small beds of jonquils outside my lounge room window, my mother grew jonquils in her garden when I was a little girl and their fragrance always reminds me of her. I hope your raspberry bushes grow lush and productive for you.

    1. How wonderful to be able to grow jonquils that remind you of your mother, Jan. Their perfume is sublime isn't it! Thank you for sharing such a lovely memory. Meg:)

  3. Yum fresh raspberries cannot be beaten. I hope they do well for you.