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.


Febru-BERRY: Bushel & Berry Brand
by Livi Lou - posted 02/05/17

February is the coldest month of the year, but just as it seems to become unbearable, Spring arrives.  To help you plan your berry garden, I like to review and update you about berry varieties in February.  I've nicknamed this month Febru-berry!

Last Febru-berry, I wrote about Double Gold and Brazelberries Raspberry Shortcake and Jelly Bean.  For this first post, I’d like to update you on the Brazelberries. 

Please note that Brazelberries has been re-branded as Bushel & Berry.  So when you see these varieties in the nursery this Spring, don’t be confused by the brand name change.  They’re still the same varieties.

As I mentioned in my video about Raspberry Shortcake, if the container is left outside all winter, the second year canes will not survive in our climate.  Under this circumstance, the first year canes should produce some berries in August.  However, if you bring the container into the garage for the winter, the second year canes will produce a great harvest in June.

This winter I left one of my Raspberry Shortcake plants outside and brought one into the garage.  I plan to get a harvest from each plant, but at different times: a June harvest and an August harvest.  I’ll let you know if this plan is successful.

Last Febru-berry, I wrote about Jelly Bean, the dwarf blueberry bush.  Initially, I have had some difficulties with it.  This winter, I decided to leave it outside.  I think part of my problem was that it did not get enough chill hours in the garage during Winter 2015 to produce buds and bloom in Spring 2016.

The below photo shows Jelly Bean a few weeks ago.  So far the buds seem to be forming nicely.


Keep an eye out for the next Febru-berry post about the Crimson Night raspberry!


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House Plant Appreciation!
by Livi Lou - posted 01/09/17

I live for the long, glowing summer days of fresh air, vibrant color, fragrance and fruit.   I would love the mild weather of the fall if it didn't mean that each day would become colder until all color seemd to become muted and life stagnant.  While beauty still exists in winter with the glistening snow covered trees, it sometimes feels as if life has become devoid of nature.

In the past, I would visit the Franklin Park Conservatory or even spend a few minutes in Oakland Nurersy's small greenhouse and feel the relief of fresh air and humidity.  It contrasts so much with the winter air only a few steps away.  Only when you feel fresh air again do you remember what so gradually you've forgotten.  I've not been one for having houseplants, but I decided to give it a try this December, and just in time for House Plant Appreciation Day (Tuesday January 10th).

I enjoyed researching the different houseplants and I felt proud when I was able to recognize a variety to purchase at the greenhouse.  There are many interesting varieties, but if you have pets and you want peace of mind, then it limits your options.  Most houseplants are tropical in origin and are toxic.   Here are a few small houseplants that are perfect for your nightstand, end table or desk top--and they are listed by the ASPCA as non-toxic to dogs and cats!

Houseplants help clean the air of toxins, increase oxygen,  help increase humidity, and positively enhance your mood.

First up is the Spider Plant. This is perfect for the living room or desk top. 

Next is a Christmas Cactus.  It blooms--as the name suggests--around Christmas time. This is a photo after it had already bloomed.


The Christmas Cactus (and Easter Cactus) and Bromeliads are unique because they absorb carbon dioxide at night. Some cacti and bromeliads absorb carbon dioxide at night--rather than during the day like the majority of plants--because they are from environments where they must conserve moisture.  This makes them valuable accessories for your nightstand.  Below is a photo of a Bromeliad.  You have probably seem this plant before. This is not the same as the variety listed on ASPCA. There are many kinds of Bromeliads, but this is the most common.


This next one is a great plant for beginners and can thrive on neglect.  The Parlor Palm was popular in the Victorian era and adds a unique element to you desk decor as a miniature palm tree. 

I love the idea of bringing life indoor, but I was very cautious with having a pet in the house.  The links will take you to the ASPCA website where it lists the variety as non-toxic.  The ASPCA stands for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


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Catshead and Everlasting Apples
by Livi Lou - posted 11/26/16

Catshead apple, also known as Pig's Snout, is the oldest apple variety that I have tasted. It is an English variety from 1629 and is is named for its unique shape, which resembles the profile of a cat's head. I find that it tastes like Banana Laffy Taffy. No wonder it has lasted this long throughout history!

This next apple is called Allen's Everlasting. And like its name, it can last in storage until June! While it is a russeting variety, it is not as nutty flavored as others. It has a mild citrus note to its flavor.

My Hocking Hills Orchard visits have been so much fun!  These are the last two varieties of the ten we tasted. I plan to return in 2017 and bring you more interesting varieties in Liv Local Season 2. Please make sure to Subscribe to my blog and YouTube Channel, and like my Facebook Page for extra bonus content.


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