I may actually get grapes this year. Apparently I got them last year, but the blackberries were so thick I didn't know they were there, until I discovered their dessicated skeletons this spring.
I have counted fourteen clusters on the vines. Most are on the Zinfandel vine I planted, not in expectation of making wine but because that's my dad's favorite varietal, and mine, too. It tickled me.
Having a back yard again after so long is invigorating. I spend more time outside now, far more time. I tend our vegetable beds and prowl through the yard, hula hoe in hand, looking for baby nettles and blackberries. When they raise their tender red-and-green heads, I whack them off without mercy. It's my yard, not yours, thank you, blackberries and nettles.
One reason I think former yard designs haven't worked--besides incompetent installers--is that the mulch just wasn't enough. A thin layer of gravel. A whiff of wood chips. This time, the gravel is thick, the wood chips and hemlock mulch thicker. Weeds have to struggle through, only to be met by me, Destroyer of Weeds. It is so nice to have both health and manageability on my side for once: I'm well enough to work in the yard, and the yard is well enough to tend.
(By the way, if you're in Portland and are in need of a landscaper, Aristata Land Arts comes HIGHLY recommended.)