Here, blueberries ripen slowly in shade that is far from ideal, but the quantity of berries is of lesser importance since I do not expect to harvest a single berry. Well, I might eat a few, if I catch them on the right day, but I long ago gave up and turned the harvest over to the neighborhood bird population.
No, I am not that kind hearted. For years I grew eight (I think) large blueberry shrubs, and didn’t leave a single berry for the birds if I could help it. Unfortunately, late ripening berries were often damaged by Japanese beetles, but by this time most had already been consumed, often a handful at a time while I was working in the garden.
Eventually, several of the shrubs declined in health, and when I decided to construct the large koi pond, I was not heartbroken knowing the remaining blueberries had to be removed. They were too large to transplant, so I planted much smaller ones in the only place that would fit them, too close I knew, sandwiched between a large blackgum and katsura.
One blueberry has been completely covered by the blackgum, so I don’t know if it has any berries, or if it’s even alive The other two are alive, but stretched for sunlight in a mishmash part of the garden where vigorous Mountain mint (above) fills any gap not otherwise occupied. It’s not an area to be particularly proud of, but birds enjoy the blueberries, and a variety of bees swarm to the Mountain mint for many weeks once it begins flowering in midsummer. This is just about as far back in the garden as it’s possible to go, so the mess is no concern. Still, I wish my grocery bill for store bought blueberries could be a bit lighter.