Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Honeyberry Blooms


Hurray- this week my honeyberries bloomed!  Two summers ago I planted six honeyberries. Since you need at least two varieties to cross pollinate, I was extra careful and bought three varieties. Last summer, I harvested a record of seven berries off one bush. This summer, my goal is to harvest... well, more. There are many more blooms on all the bushes this time around. 

I've experimented a little with the placement of each. Reading that they grow in both part shade and sun, I've planted the six in a variety of sunny to shady spots. There hasn't been much variation in the amount of growth on each bush, perhaps I'll see the difference in the fruit output.

The fruit, if you've never seen it, is a blue, elongated berry shape. The plants come from Siberia and their blossoms withstand -8 to -10 C frosts. The woman I bought my plants from had bushes which bloomed straight through a snow storm and went on to produce a rich harvest. 

The flavour of my seven berries was pretty mild; each was seedless and plump. According to the researchers at the U of S Fruit Program, however, flavour can range from "terrible to terrific" so there is still ongoing experimentation in the flavour department. 

Shannon Dyrland, who's Shallow Creek Nurseries closed last year, recommends the varieties Cinderella, Berryblue and Bluebell. Many of the greenhouses now carry at least a couple varieties of honeyberry.

Keep in mind too, if you plan to landscape with these, that they aren't fussy about soil Ph, which can't be said for their cousins the blueberry and huckleberry (both need acidic soil). 

So, if you have a honeyberry bush, please let me know where you've planted it and if the fruit output has changed significantly when planted in the sun versus the shade! 

I'll keep you posted on my ambitious goal of "Eat More Than Eight Honeyberries in 2011".


Nancy said...

I have one of these!! I forgot what it was called! The bush I bought was from Holes and supposedly it has two varieties in one bush. Anyhow, I have it planted along my south fence and it is quite shaded by my neighbours garage. I am sure I had more than 7 berries last year. I ate too many of them early (out of sheer excitement and partly not wanting to share!) and they were bitter. As I waited for them to ripen, I thought they were tasty. I have tonnes of blossoms this year and I am REALLY excited again!

Naomi Thompson said...

I planted 4 bushes last year. They have blossoms on them already, and I am hoping will produce some berries! I have them planted in full sun, with raspberry bushes and a cherry tree. I am hoping all my berries will be happy together and produce great crops! :)

John Schneider - Gold Forest Grains said...

Yes, we have about a dozen that we planted last year as a border around our garden. Yesterday we noticed their first blooms too! Lots of great foliage so they survived the winter as advertised.

An Avenue Homesteader said...

Keep me posted on the harvests, folks! Kinda neat to be part of the first decade when a new prairie hardy fruit like this is being introduced, hey?

Anonymous said...

I planted my two honeyberry bushes 5 or 6 years ago. Today May 29th, I picked over 2 cups of honeyberries. There's still some on the bushes which aren't ripe yet.

They're in the same area as my blueberries and raspberries, but perhaps a little bit shadier.

coffee girl said...

I planted 14 seedlings this spring on the south side of my fence in the alley. I planted Indigo gem and Borealis along with Berry Blue to pollinate. Very excited to see some fruit in three years.

Anonymous said...

I have five honeyberry bushes that I planted four years ago. Each year they grow taller and are green and full but they have never had even one blossom..... My other fruit trees and berry plant and bushes thrive and all produce but the honeyberries have done nothing. I'm reagy to rip them up and toss them. Garden space is too valuable to grow something that produces nothing. I have three different varieties planted in full sun.

Carissa Halton said...

Definitely disappointing - and bizarre!- that you've never had blossoms. All three of my varieties have blossoms in early May, though some have fruited more generously than others. They can grow pretty huge too, and I understand the preciousness of garden space.