One species that I've been especially drawn to lately is the Mulberry - here is Bulgaria they appear to grow mostly Morus Alba - the White Mulberry, and less commonly Morus Nigra, or Black Mulberry. The two can be distinguished by the hairy underside of the leaves of the Black Mulberry, which make them less palatable than the pleasantly smooth leaves of the Morus Alba, which are great in salads!
As I write this my hands are stained black by their juice and my tummy full to the brim! In this village of Vishovgrad street after street are lined with beautiful old specimins, most of which have been pollarded - here in Bulgaria Mulberry trees can grow very large indeed! I came across this veteran pictured below in an abandoned village in one of the driest regions of Bulgaria in the Rhodope Mountains.
It is clearly a tree that feels very at home in dry regions...
I wonder how old this one could be? I'm sure it would have at least lived through Bulgaria's war for Independence against the Ottoman in the 19th century...
The locals here call the fruit Bobonka - derived from the same root as 'Bonbon' - little sweets hanging from the trees that are so abundant in quantity that grown ups here tend to leave the bulk of them for the kids to eat! I'm obviously still young at heart since I've been gorging myself on mouthful after mouthful of them for the past few days.
In the UK we know that Morus Nigra fruits prolifically... So much so that they fell out of favor as street trees because the falling ripe fruits would stain the pavements underneath!
I wonder if any readers have experience in growing Morus Alba, or any of the hybrid mulberries in the UK? If you'd like to share any of your experiences in growing Mulberries in the UK, I'd be very interested to hear from you. Please do write in to the usual email address - firstname.lastname@example.org
As well as having my eye on some Bulgarian strains, I will be propagating three different cultivars of Mulberry in my nursery, including the esteemed 'Illinois Everbearing' and 'Italian' - available by 2018.