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.

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Mar 12
Timeline: Historic Apple Collection  

Oct 04
The Ultimate Crop-Cage  

Aug 09
Summer Photos  

Jun 26
New Berry Varieties  

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Honey Bees: The Queen Signal  

May 01
Spring Annuals & Perennials  

Mar 31
What’s the shuck?  

Mar 19
The Emotional Benefit of Trees   (2 comments)




Brazelberries Jelly Bean: a dwarf sweet blueberry
by Livi Lou - posted 02/19/16

In Summer 2014, I purchased Jelly Bean along with Raspberry Shortcake.  Jelly Bean is another Brazelberries plant and grows to be 1 to 2 ft in height.  It is named for its sweet flavored blueberries.

The below photo is upon first planting Jelly Bean.


Jelly Bean produced a few berries in 2014. I enjoyed experiencing how blueberries develop from a flower into a berry.

Below is my first blueberry flower on Jelly Bean.




After the flower is pollinated and the petals drop, the ‘base’ of the flower petals swells and starts to form a blueberry.  The below photo shows several stages of berry formation.



I did not receive many berries that first summer.  I originally decided to purchase the Jelly Bean variety instead of the other Brazelberries blueberry varieties because of its sweet flavor and extra cold hardiness to Zone 4.

However, after tasting these first blueberries in Summer 2014, I discovered that I don’t care much for ‘sweet.’ I prefer my blueberries to have a more robust flavor.  You always learn something new in the garden, even about yourself.

Jelly Bean grew healthily and I was eager to see how it would produce in Summer 2015.

My story with Jelly Bean does not end here.  I overwintered it in the garage during Winter 2014 and it grew in height and developed A LOT OF LEAF and FLOWER BUDS!


But why did the flower buds not turn into berries?  Find out next Friday in Jelly Bean Part 2: Summer 2015.


   ~ Thanks for Reading!

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Cornell’s Double Gold Raspberry: a sweet double-cropping delight
by Livi Lou - posted 02/12/16

In 2012, Cornell University released a set of two new raspberry varieties, named Double Gold and Crimson Night.*
I found the variety Double Gold at Oakland Nursery and planted it in my garden Summer of 2014.**
It produced a few berries in Fall 2014 and quickly filled its container with growth.
As I described in my post about Raspberry Shortcake, raspberries can be either primocane or floricane, producing berries on new canes or old canes respectively. 
Double Gold is a double cropping variety that produces on new and old canes.
This variety overwintered successfully outside through Winter 2014 without any protection for its canes.  It is hardy to Zone 4.
The below photo shows new growth in Spring 2015 coming from the old 2014 canes that survived the winter. You can distinguish canes that survived the winter by the fresh, orange color.  A dead cane will be completely brown.
In any given season, Double Gold produces berries on the lower half of old canes in early summer and on the tips of new canes in the fall.
In my 2015 garden, I harvested the summer crop starting June 20 and through to July 10.  There was a clear period where I would gather a handful each day.
The berries are described as being a ‘blushed champagne’ color.   The pink blush becomes more pronounced when the berry is exposed to sunlight, developing a rosy orange color.
The berries are uniquely sweet, reminding me of Smarties candy.  I hope you don’t find that comparison off-putting.  That’s just what comes to mind. I also think Medjool Dates are reminiscent of Tootsie Rolls.

The fall harvest was more sporadic and began in September and lasted to frost in October.
The fall crop was not particularly as significant or as delicious as the summer crop.  The berries became deeper in color, softer and tarter, especially in October. This would be due to the declining temperature.
Double Gold has strong and healthy growth.  The canes are sturdy, upright and reach 4 to 5ft in height.  I did not use trellising. The canes have thorns, but the berries are easily within reach so that you rarely risk getting pricked. 

Harvesting is easy. The berries are ripe when a gentle tug slips them from the calyx.
I did not use bird netting and had no problems with birds—not that I ever do.  My main garden pests are squirrels and chipmunks.  The squirrels attempted to steal my crop, but they did not like trying to perch on the thorny canes.  The only berries they could steal were low hanging ones that they could reach from the ground.
Double Gold’s impressive strength, deliciously unique berries and generally pest-free and easy harvest, make it a double-cropping delight for every garden.
If you’ve never grown berries before, I hope these Febru-BERRY posts inspire you to try it.  Berries are always better fresh and perfectly ripe. The diversity of tastes and colors that can be experienced only by a garden-grown berry is unrivaled.
   ~ Thanks for reading!

*I will be growing Crimson Night this Summer (2016).
**Oakland Nursery usually has a great selection of berry plants, but here are a few online nursery sources that carry this variety: Burpee Seeds  and Stark Bros Nursery.

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Brazelberries Raspberry Shortcake: world’s first dwarf raspberry variety
by Livi Lou - posted 02/05/16

Beautiful berry plants! That is every gardener’s dream and one brand’s mission.

Brazelberries is a new brand by a major wholesale nursery called Fall Creek. Brazelberries is named after the company’s Brazelton family.

Their dwarf varieties can fit into any size garden. They are devoted to breeding berry plants that are simple, beautiful and delicious. Since these values ring true to mine, I was very intrigued when Brazelberries launched in 2013.

I found their dwarf raspberry variety called Raspberry Shortcake at Oakland Nursery and planted it in my garden Summer of 2014. 



The photo below is upon first planting Raspberry Shortcake.  Its short stature is evident.  Instead of a raspberry plant’s usual 5-6 feet, Raspberry Shortcake’s mature height is only 2-3 feet.




As expected for initial plantings, Raspberry Shortcake did not produce any berries Summer 2014. It would produce next season.

I wanted to test if its hardiness estimate was accurate.  So I kept the pot outside during the winter, but placed it between bushes to protect it from the wind.

Raspberry Shortcake is described as a floricane variety, which means it produces berries on second year canes.  The overwintered canes from Summer 2014 would produce in Summer 2015.




In Spring 2015, it became clear that the canes had died from the winter’s cold. Raspberry Shortcake’s berries are described as ‘having an essence of vanilla.’  You can imagine how I felt when I thought I would have to wait another year to taste them!

So I tended to Raspberry Shortcake as its new canes emerged from the soil.  These canes would produce berries in Summer 2016.

However, in Summer 2015, there were flowers on the new canes! *

The below photo shows the berries are growing from the new green 2015 canes. The brown canes in the bottom right of the photo are the dead floricanes from 2014.


The berries are magenta-pink in color and have a slight hint of vanilla in their flavor.  It’s not a pronounced note of vanilla, but still unique.  The berries were harvested in my garden beginning Late July-Early August to Late August, which is usually a slow production window in the summer garden.**


Raspberry Shortcake’s short, thorn-less stature, opportune production time and unique flavor make it worthy of your garden’s valuable space. 


~ Thanks for reading!



*Producing on new canes would make it a primocane variety instead of a floricane.  But it could also be a potential ‘double-cropping’ variety that produces on new AND old canes.  This winter, I am overwintering Raspberry Shortcake in the garage to see if the floricanes survive and produce in Summer 2016. 

**Raspberries are ripe when they separate easily from the calyx.  Raspberry Shortcake does not seem to separate as easily as other varieties.  So make sure you are actually picking these raspberries when they are ripe. Otherwise, they will not be as flavorful.  


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