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".