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.

Recent Blog Posts

Mar 12
Timeline: Historic Apple Collection  

Oct 04
The Ultimate Crop-Cage  

Aug 09
Summer Photos  

Jun 26
New Berry Varieties  

May 28
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)




What’s the shuck?
by Livi Lou - posted 03/31/17

It is early spring and you are eager to know whether or not to expect fruit this summer. How do you tell if your stone-fruit tree has been pollinated?

Petal drop is not the most accurate way to determine proper pollination.  The best indicator is whether the shuck has split.

What's the shuck?

The shuck refers to the sepals that hold the anthers and petals.  As the fruit starts to form, it will split the shuck and the shuck will eventually fall off.  You can check out my previous peach formation, photo-timeline here.   Below is my new heirloom apricot tree blossoming, shedding the shuck and growing an apricot for the first time!

Above: Apricot is blooming in the foreground with peach and plum in the background.


Above: The shuck is starting to split as the apricot begins to grow.


Above: Photo taken yesterday of the apricot growing.


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The Emotional Benefit of Trees
by Livi Lou - posted 03/19/17

It’s a hot summer’s day and you’re walking through the neighborhood. One section seems barren and the sun too strong, and then, by stark contrast, you turn onto a street with mature trees and beautiful dappled shade as if the street were a Monet painting.

There are numerous benefits to trees and you’ve probably heard the list repeated, but I’d like to point out the emotional benefit of trees. 

Some data suggests that trees foster safer, more sociable neighborhoods. The natural scenery and shade created by trees are spaces that attract people. When people are drawn to spaces with trees, they are more likely to see and interact with their neighbors, and become friends. Some even suggest that trees may reduce levels of domestic violence.

Could this be a chicken or the egg situation? Do the trees literally make the neighborhood safer or do the trees attract home buyers willing to pay more for a home along a shady, natural setting?

Either way, planting a tree can increase the value of your home, because home buyers prefer to live with trees, and the demand will increase the worth of your home. If you’re not planning on moving anytime soon, you might as well still plant some trees as a benefit to yourself.  

You will feel happy seeing and being in an outdoor space with tall, stoic Norwegian Spruce trees frosted with snow in the winter, Cleveland Pears blooming in the spring, birch trees with their leaves glinting in the summer sun and Red Maples ablaze with glorious red in autumn.

The Arbor Day Foundation
gives 10 free trees that are suited to your locality when you become a member ($10). That’s an easy way to get some trees! Whether you go for the free trees or choose to purchase more mature trees, you need to make sure they get the best start in their new location. 

A landscaper can help with placement of the plantings to give your property the best aesthetics, and a certified arborist can make sure to get the tree off to the best start. March is a good time to plant trees; the soil is fresh and the trees still dormant. So what are you waiting for? Get growing, be happy!



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Bushel & Berry: Baby Cakes
by Livi Lou - posted 02/19/17

Baby Cakes is a new dwarf blackberry variety from Bushel & Berry (formerly Brazelberries).  It is listed as being hardy to Zone 4 and its shape is described as rounded. Growing only 3-4ft in height, this dwarf blackberry bush should produce sweet, classic blackberry-flavored berries. 

Baby Cakes is a new release for Spring 2017.  In Spring 2016, I received a small starter plant to review. I planted it in a Smart Pot, which is a fabric container.

Keep an eye out for Baby Cakes at your local nursery, since it will probably be larger than the one I received.  However, it has grown nicely.  Below you can see when I first received the plant in the spring, and then what it looked like at the end of the summer.



I’ll continue to update you on my experience with Baby Cakes.  As I did with Raspberry Shortcake, I plan on making a Liv Fruitful video about Baby Cakes to show you the plant like as if you were standing beside it.

By the end of the Summer 2016, Baby Cakes developed a flower bud, but the season was too late for it to blossom.  I look forward to potentially tasting some berries this Summer (2017).  It is supposed to produce two crops (mid-summer & fall), depending on the climate.



I’ve brought Baby Cake into the garage for the winter.  In the photo below, you can see it is starting to show new growth.



I love when the plants come alive again in early spring! I’m eager to experience Baby Cakes and my other new Bushel & Berry variety called Perpetua, a double-cropping blueberry variety!




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