Liv Fruitful with Livi Lou! She is currently breeding strawberries, developing a garden product, trialing plants and researching the history of heirloom fruit varieties. She writes about unique perennials and fruit plants, so that you can grow an ornamental fruit garden.


Irish Moss: an imperfect ideal ground-cover
by Livi Lou - posted 04/15/16

While Sedum sarmentosum is a beautiful and practical ground-cover, my heart still holds a spot for a ground-cover that would be perfect if it weren’t so fickle.   Its texture and color makes it look like grass that never needs to be mowed.  In Spring, tiny white flowers appear. 

What is this ground-cover? Irish Moss!



Irish Moss is not technically a moss.  This month I’ll be sharing my experience trying to grow this beautiful but fickle friend.

I first bought Irish Moss from Oakland Nursery in 2014.  I planted four large pots in my landscape bed.  This location received morning shade and afternoon sun.

It began to turn brown.



I had bought it on a whim.  I knew of Irish Moss, but I didn’t know anything about growing it.  And, quite frankly, its ideal growing conditions are still unclear to me.  

Some sources online read that Irish Moss needs full sun and others say partial shade or full shade.  Other sources say it does not like wet conditions or humidity.  Perhaps our clay soils are too much, but there are locations in the nation with heavier clay and worse humidity.

Once the season progressed from Fall to Winter, the Irish Moss completely turned brown and the squirrels gathered these brown remnants for their nests.

However, in Spring 2015, some of the Irish Moss returned.  Below is a photo of Irish Moss growing under an annual geranium.   It even appeared in the cracks of the brick pathway



Perhaps parts of it will always turn brown and die-back.  Or maybe I simply had it planted in the wrong location. 

I loved the idea of Irish Moss and I was determined to learn more and try again.  

Check back later this month for my Summer 2015 attempt to grow Irish Moss and its counterpart Scottish Moss.



  ~ Thanks for reading!

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Announcements: April schedule, an award and more
by Livi Lou - posted 04/04/16

It's been years in the making--and not just for the Livi Lou trial garden. It's time to give fruit breeders a round of applause and give you, the grower, the confidence to fruit garden.


The Liv Select Fruitful Award winners are ready to be announced. Learn more about the award here.



Upcoming Blog Schedule:

April will return to the every-other-Friday posting schedule.  But don’t fret! That’s just because we’re gearing up for another great season of growing and reviewing plants for you.

Coming Up:

·        April: discover a fickle but friendly ground-cover

·        May: Herb Theme Month

·        June: Perennials: do these varieties fulfill our quest for fragrant, perpetual blooming and easy to care for flowers? 

·        July: Fruit Trees


New to the Garden:

It's finally spring and you know what that means... New plants!

Livi Lou is welcoming these additions to the garden:

·        Brazelberries Perpetua Blueberry

·        Brazelberries Baby Cakes Blackberry

·        Crimson Night Raspberry

·        Sedums, other perennials, berries and fruit trees


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A Strawberry with Pineapple Taste: an exclusive variety
by Livi Lou - posted 04/01/16

Pineberries are white colored strawberries with red seeds and derive their nickname from their unique pineapple taste. If you enjoy tasting the wide array of unique tasting garden-grown fruit, you may have already heard of pineberries. 

Pineberries are not new.  They are a forgotten variety from history.  In the US, this recent revival of pineberries included only heirloom varieties such as White D or White Carolina. However, new varieties are being bred, especially in Europe.

Nourse Farms in Massachusetts provides a Holland bred cultivar of the pineberry called Natural Albino.  This is one of the first new and ‘improved’ pineberry varieties available in the US. 

Nourse Farms propagates all their plant stock from tissue cultures to ensure that their plants remain virus free and healthy. It is a fascinating process. To learn more about tissue culture propagation, you can watch their YouTube video about it.

Natural Albino is definitely an improvement on heirloom pineberries.  Below is a photo of Natural Albino (left) and White D (right) that I picked from my garden.



Not only is Natural Albino the prettier berry with its pure white color, but it also tastes better.  White D’s acidity might suggest some kind of tropical flavor, but Natural Albino actually does taste like pineapple…

… if you let it ripen perfectly.

With Natural Albino, your patience will be rewarded with a true pineapple flavor.

I had picked my first few Natural Albino berries too soon. They were pure white and getting soft, so I figured they were ripe.  It is a bit more difficult to tell when pineberries are ripe.

Natural Albino is a beautiful plant that holds its large, healthy and deep green leaves high.  It easily survives the winter and prefers full sun.  It is a June Bearing plant with dime sized berries. 

Nourse Farms is the only outlet that offers Natural Albino in the US.  I encourage you to try this variety, especially since you can be confident that the plants with be from healthy stock.  Natural Albino is not self-fertile and requires a pollinator, so Nourse Farms includes the red strawberry variety Sonata with your Natural Albino purchase.


  ~ Thanks for Reading!

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