Over the past few years our garden has yielded an abundance of deliciously golden Cape Gooseberry fruit – all for ‘free’ as the plants have seeded themselves and simply got on with their cycle of reproduction. There is usually so much fruit that our grandchildren could pick mugfuls and there would still be enough to both satisfy the birds and allow me to make jam or to make a sauce for ice-cream. These gooseberries were a late autumnal / early winter treat that meant one could pick a few after hanging out the laundry or simply when passing by one of the many bushes weighed down with fruit.
Then came the relentless drought. Many gooseberry bushes sprung up as usual, but hardly any survived – and those have scarcely enough fruit to make picking worthwhile. Besides, the birds need that sustenance more than I do! Hopefully, like the Canary creeper, the gooseberries will bounce back again next year – if we get some decent rain between now and next autumn.