As we finally begin to dry out enough to get enthusiastic about outdoor time, new inventory is arriving every day – not only to restock items that sold through earlier in the year, but also opportunities to get some new and different plants that aren’t readily available in bare-root or for early season planting.
Among the new items this week are two very different, and very new, blackberries: Columbia Star and Babycakes.
Columbia Star is a vigorous but thornless trailing blackberry, with potential to replace it’s parent – the northwest classic Marion – with improved yield, quality, and at least as good flavor. Columbia Star has bigger and more uniform and better formed berries; they have similar levels of sweetness and acidity to Marion, and blind taste tests among blackberry experts rated the Columbia Star as slightly superior. Combine these fruit qualities with healthy vigorous vines, a slightly earlier and longer harvest season, and absence of thorns and you have a sure winner.
Babycakes is something really new in the canefruit world – a dwarf blackberry! This bushy, erect, and thornless plant will bear two crops of berries each year – in July on overwintered wood, and in September on new growth – and all in a manageable 3 to 4 ft size. Perfect for patio fruit production.
Take advantage of the breaks in the weather to get out and garden – and to try something new.
It’s planting time!
– Darren Morgan