GARDENING: Salmonberry fruit is ideal in small gardens

The flower of salmonberry Pacific Rose. Picture by Lubera
The flower of salmonberry Pacific Rose. Picture by Lubera
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The oddly-named salmonberry is a brilliant way for those with small gardens to grow a decent fruit crop while not compromising on flowers and good looks.

Related to the raspberry, these North American berries are a fantastic way for beginners to grow decorative fruit in their garden.

The fruit of salmonberry Olympic Double. Picture by Lubera

The fruit of salmonberry Olympic Double. Picture by Lubera

Salmonberry Pacific Rose has large, raspberry-like fruits which are yellow-orange to bright red in colour, sweet and firm and are ideal for snacking or for jam. The flowers are an intense pink and appear in large numbers.

It is shrub-like, upright, 1.5 to 2 m high, slightly spiked, forming runners, but is still a fairly compact bush, totally hardy. It prefers moist sites and also thrives in shaded areas.

They mature before the first summer raspberries, from about mid-June and cost £4.90 for well rooted vigorous plants in 1.3-litre pots.

Salmonberry Olympic Double has the rich ruby redness of a raspberry, with spectacular double bright pink flowers like an English rose. It matures after Pacific Rose, at the same time as the earliest summer raspberries. Each plant also costs £4.90.

The fruit of salmonberry Pacific Rose. Picture by Lubera

The fruit of salmonberry Pacific Rose. Picture by Lubera

Olympic Double produces slightly less fruit than Pacific Rose because the double flowers lead to more difficult pollination. The shrubby, upright plants grow up to 1.5m high, weaker growing than Pacific Rose, and thrives in shaded areas.

Both have varying levels of spines, so don’t plant near a path!

Lubera recommends you plant both varieties at the same time for an extended flowering and fruiting season.

Salmonberry plants can be ordered now for delivery next month, visit www.lubera.co.uk


JOBS TO DO THIS WEEKEND

The flower of salmonberry Olympic Double. Picture by Lubera

The flower of salmonberry Olympic Double. Picture by Lubera

* Place gladioli corms in seed trays or boxes and place in a light, warm (about 10ºC/50ºF) place to encourage them to sprout. This will ensure an earlier display.

* Prune back the stems of pot-grown overwintered fuchsias and place in a well-lit, warm place to encourage new growth.

* Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate, those that have become too large or are flowering poorly.

* Improve drainage of heavy soils by working in lots of organic matter and coarse gravel (if necessary). Mulching with a deep layer of organic matter helps to condition the soil, suppress weed growth, insulate plant roots and conserve soil moisture during the summer.

* Top up pots and tubs with fresh compost. Old compost can be removed and replaced.

* Top dress beds and borders with a balanced fertiliser such as Growmore or blood, fish and bone, to feed perennials as they start back into growth.

* Protect lily, Delphinium and Hosta shoots from slugs and snails before they appear.

* Cut back hard shrubs such as Buddleja davidii, Salix alba var. vitellina cultivars and Cornus sanguinea to keep them manageable and deepening the stem colour for next winter.

* Cut back late summer and autumn flowering (Group 3) Clematis to the lowest pair of strong buds. Mulch and feed at the same time.

* Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria) that was lifted from the garden to use as pot plants in the greenhouse, should now be planted back outside.

* Prune winter-flowering jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) once the flowers have faded. Remove dead or damaged shoots, tie in new ones to the main framework, and shorten all the laterals coming off the main framework to 5cm (2in), cutting to a bud. This will keep the plant neat, and improve flowering next winter. Feed and mulch after pruning.

* Summer-flowering jasmines may also be pruned (if necessary), providing that they are reasonably hardy where they are. Remove a couple of stems completely to ground level, and avoid cutting back laterals, as this would damage this year’s flowering potential.

* Trim winter-flowering heathers with shears as the flowers fade to stop the plants from becoming leggy and bare.

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