As we emerge from the coldest winter we’ve had in 40 years, many of us will have casualties among our evergreen shrubs and vines. We could replant the same shrubs and hope for warmer winters, or we could explore new ideas for replanting hardier plants which Garland Nursery will cover in a class on coping with plant losses on Sunday, Feb. 16. One possible strategy would be to incorporate more edible landscaping into our garden.
Most fruit trees and berry plants would survive our coldest winters. Fruiting plants can be beautiful when well grown and there is no comparison between the mouth-watering flavor of fruit picked at its peak of perfection and that of fruit picked unripe for shipping to grocery stores. Growing your own fruit gives you many more choices of varieties and you will know if they have been sprayed. There is a great need for all of us to lower our carbon footprint-growing your own is as good as it gets and costs less than paying premium prices at the farmer’s market. In addition to our usual huge selection of fruit trees and berries there will be a few new selections available.
Oregon’s largest blueberry grower is introducing its collection of deliciously beautiful plants called Brazelberries. Last year they brought us Raspberry Shortcake, a thornless, dwarf raspberry that forms a compact, mounding 24-30” plant. It’s ideally suited for large containers, requires no staking and rewards gardeners with super-sweet raspberries in mid-summer. This year will bring new blueberries Peach Sorbet and Jelly Bean. Peach Sorbet forms a compact 1 ½-2’ mound with colorful new spring growth, white bell-shaped blooms and abundant crops of healthy sweet berries. Jelly Bean forms a compact 1-2’ sphere with brilliant green foliage and a bumper crop of super sweet berries. Both perform well in containers or beds with acidic, well-drained soil and regular watering. Pruning on all Brazelberries involves pruning out canes that have fruited, leaving new canes to fruit the next season.
Newly available this season will be three varieties of Pluots ( plum-apricot crosses) and Pluerries (complex hybrids of plums and cherries). Smooth skinned like plums, pluots are sturdy and durable with luscious sweet flavors and chin-dripping juiciness. Pluerries are a taste test favorite combining the sweetness of cherry with that fresh summer zing of plum. Pluerries are much larger than a cherry with reddish-purple skin and amber flesh.
Also new this year will be Garland Nursery’s monthly classes called Garden to Table (G2T), where we will cover everything you need to know to grow your own fruit trees, berries and vegetables and then give you delicious ways to bring these harvests to your table with delectable recipes and tastings. In January we will cover apples, strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus.