Thursday, 28 September 2017

Dogberries

Here in Newfoundland dogberry trees, also known as mountain ash / rowan, are everywhere. I love the vivid colour of their berries from September on into December/January. I often pick bunches of them and then use them to decorate the house from October to December. They dry quite well.

Last September I was really disappointed to discover there were very few dogberries anywhere!! Apparently that was because we had a cold July (I do remember wearing heavy sweaters and coats on some nights last summer).

There's a commonly held local belief that fewer berries means a mild winter. Well, last winter proved that to be wrong! Wasn't the worst winter but it certainly wasn't mild. We had lots of snow, several blizzards, and it came early and stayed late. This year there are lots of dogberries around, which is nice to see. We certainly did have a good July! Although my neighbour was telling me she's heard we'll be getting a bad winter this year..."like in the old days." Not sure where she got that info but I sure hope she's wrong!

Another bit of local folklore around these trees is that Irish and Scots immigrants planted them to keep witches out of their gardens. That's cool. I do remember reading that rowan used to be a wood revered by ancient Celts. Definitely gonna see about planting some in our back yard next year.

Dogberry or Rowan - read more about its ancient uses


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