The last time I blogged about this Physalis it was 7 years old. It is now 13 and still going strong. The last time I wrote about it, I wrote the following: “This Physalis which I’ve called “Indian Strain” is now going into its 7th year. I got this from Seed Savers Exchange in the US. However, that one is supposed to be a tomatillo and I wonder if I mixed it up with another I got at about the same time, P. heterophylla, clammy ground cherry, although the stems are not clammy (sticky) to the feel. That would explain it’s hardiness as it is found in the wild north to Canada (see http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PHHEH3). I definitely planted heterophylla in the garden and it’s survived since 2009 without winter protection, but the summer is just too cold for fruit (it does flower). It lives in a cold bedroom all year and produces a few fruit most of the year, even continuing to ripen fruit despite the temperature being often under 10C. The fruit are sweet and have good flavour. It’s not hugely productive but little bother (aphids don’t bother it). I cut it back when it gets too straggly”. I repotted one of them today and cut all 3 plants back to 1/3 height (it reaches the ceiling). The conclusion is that it is a cape gooseberry / goldenberry (Physalis peruviana).
Nanking cherry (Prunus tomentosa) is a species native to northern and western China, Tibet, Korea and Mongolia. My two plants are seed propagated about 20 years ago, but are planted a bit far apart for good yields, but I’ve just harvested a small crop, having forgot about them (in a part of the garden I don’t often go) but then I heard the fieldfares (gråtrost) feasting on them this morning. The berries are quite sweet to my taste, not sour as is often reported, but the seeds are relatively large. The biggest advantage with them is that they are supposedly hardy down to below -40C, so something for Northern Norway and the mountain areas. They are also earlier than sweet cherries (Prunus avium) and therefore it’s worth having a couple of bushes to extend the fresh fruit season (ripe just after strawberries and honeyberries /haskaps which are earliest here).There are cultivars; from wikipedia: “…examples include ‘Graebneriana’ (Germany), ‘Insularis’ (Japan and Korea), ‘Leucocarpa’ (Manchuria; white fruit), and ‘Spaethiana’ (Europe).” They are also fantastic when blossoming (and full of fruit), so a valuable edimental in any case! And, yes I do save the seeds for sharing with Norwegian Seed Savers (kvann.no).
The fresh fruit season approaches rapidly as the first fruit ripens…wild strawberries (markjordbær) and haskaps (Lonicera edulis). Since the fresh apples ran out early April we’ve been eating delicious rehydrated dried fruit salad every day. We mix different flavours (sour and bitter and sweet) in the same way as in mixed salads. Here are the recipe and ingredients in this year’s “Summer in a Bowl” mix: apples, wild bilberries, raspberries (from the hills and garden), yellow raspberries, redcurrants, saskatoons (Amelanchier), rhubarb, sour cherries and gooseberries! We both made mixed fruit leather and dried the berries as they were (mixed together in the rehydrated mix). I never buy fruit and never use sugar for preserving and don’t own a freezer (by choice).
Rehydrated fruit mix for breakfast every day is delicious:
The first ripening berries of 2021 (wild strawberries and haskaps):
…and the 2021 fruit harvest is very promising with both plums, cherries and apples all covered in flowers in May (pictures and video of the biggest apple tree – Aroma)
15 years old, my quince / kvede (Cydonia oblonga) is in full flower, a year after the first two flowers appeared (no fruit). I think I got this as a small plant but am not sure as the year before I have a note that I germinated seed but the resultant single plant died in its first winter.
I thought the berry season was over with the frosts at the end of October, but with the air temperature in November so far above 0c I was able to harvest a few last blackberries (the bush has started flowering again) and 4 raspberries! Various pollinators had also emerged from hibernation including two hoverflies.
Due to the really cold May this year, the apple trees (Aroma) tried and tried to flower but seemed to give up. I was surprised nevertheless that some fruit did result and in compensation for the low number of apples, the individual apples were bigger so that the total yield was much better than feared! There were no plums and only a few cherries.
It was probably over 25 years ago I sowed some seed of a kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa) from the supermarket just for fun! Little did I know that it would be flowering in my garden in the year 2020. The seed germinated and I accidentally left the plants in a pot in the garden all winter. I had lost the label and I didn’t recognise the plant when it leafed out in spring. A gardening friend (Alvilde) visiting that summer did recognised it and I recalled having sowed those seeds. It also showed that it was much more hardy than I imagined. I therefore planted two plants in the warmest spot I could find in the garden against the south side of the house. Unfortunately, one of the two plants died and you need two to get fruit….not that I had any pretense of ever eating my own kiwis (I’d read that Actinidia deliciosa needs temperatures over 20C for 3-4 months to ripen fruit). Some summers, we only have 10-20 such days! I carried on growing it more of a curiosity than anything else…a plant one doesn’t expect to see at 63.5N! Then in 2007, I had a visit from a Swedish gardening club (STA). I told them about the kiwi and one of them commented that it was flowering. I hadn’t noticed the two flowers:
I never saw a flower again, until just a week ago when I lifted one of the branches and discovered a couple of flowers well hidden under the leaves. On closer examination there were about 10 flowers altogether! A mild winter followed by record temperatures in June had stimulated it to flower “profusely” (of course, I could have missed the odd flower in the past). I didn’t round to taking pictures for several days by which time the flowers were over (see below). Given that I will never have my own fruit, I wonder if other parts of kiwis can be eaten. I found one reference to the leaves being edible on a kiwi web site. Can anyone confirm? There are references in the literature to both Actinidia arguta and Actinidia polygama shoots being eaten.
I only eat fruit that I grow or pick in the woods myself. For 5 months from November I only eat fresh stored apples from the cellar and they lasted right to the end of April this year. I don’t miss oranges, bananas or any of that commercial long distance fruit that I haven’t eaten regularly for over 25 years or more. Now until fresh fruit is once again available in July, I move suddenly from 1 species a day to over 20 a day, now using rehydrated dried fruit (including apples!), a mix of sweet, sour and bitter / strong tasting fruits (the same idea as the mixed salad!) Includes: Apples (epler), sour cherries (surkirsebær), gooseberries (stikkelsbær), redcurrants (rips), blackcurrant (solbær), saskatoons (junisøtbær), Aronia, Berberis, Viburnum trilobum and Vibrnum opulus, bilberries (blåbær), bog bilberry (blokkebær), cloudberry (molte), plums (plommer), raspberries (bringebær), black raspberries (svartbringebær), Cornus mas, haskaps, Ribes odoratum, wild strawberries and a couple of wild Ribes spp. grwoing in the garden. Join the SLOW FRUIT movement!
A male blackcap (munk) in the garden feeding nervously on an apple that a fieldfare (gråtrost) has been guarding attacking any bird that gets near.
…and then demonstrating that SIZE MATTERS as Herr Blackcap (munk) meets Hr. Hawfinch (kjernebiter) with guest appearances by Hr. Siskin (grønnsisik) and Hr. Brambling (bjørkefink)…..and there’s a finale!
I’ve long had a Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) in the garden without a partner. The oldest is maybe 20 years old. I’ve several times tried to propagate more plants but they always died. I finally got a second plant going thanks to a gardening friend Alvilde who didn’t want hers anymore, but still no fruit, maybe it was a clone of the first one? This spring I took a few sprigs of flowering twigs from a couple of plants at the botanical garden at Ringve and put them next to my two plants. It did the trick as my two bushes were full of fruit this year, but only a few fruit on one of the bushes turned red and probably weren’t fully ripe. Perhaps we’ll make Polish Olives with them? It would be nice with a home grown olive surrogate? See Szczepaniak et al. (2019).
The bushes at Ringve, which were in a warmer and much sunnier spot than in my garden, were, on the other hand, laden with ripe fruit!
Although sour tasting raw, I was intrigued to see what they would taste like dried. My favourite dried fruit are sour cherries. Although not as good as those, I enjoyed the taste and they will this winter be part of my late winter dried fruit mixes that I eat every morning for breakfast once the fresh apples are finished.
There are many varieties of cornelian cherry bred for bigger fruits, there are also pear shaped fruit varieties and yellow cultivars. (Edit: My friend Jesper Bay tells me that there’s also a black fruited variety!) There are also a number of ornamental varieties, such as the wonderful variegated form I once saw laden with fruit in the Oxford Botanical Garden (see the pictures below).
´Elegantnyj´, ´Jalt´, ´Kijevskij´, ´Lukjanovskij´, ´Vydubeckij´ are Russian in origin; ´Devin´, ´Olomoucky, ´Ruzynsky´, ´Sokolnicky´, ´Titus´ are from Czechoslovakia and Slovakia; ´Joliko´ and ´Fruchtal´ are Austrian and ‘Ntoulia 1’ and ‘Ntoulia 2’ are Greek.<
There are also partially self-fertile varieties. Cornus mas has been cultivated commercially for centuries in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Turkey has today an important Cornelian cherry industry.
‘Kasanlaker’ is a large fruited cultivar which is available from nurseries in Western Europe.
I remember on a visit to Scandinavia’s oldest forest garden at Holma in Southern Sweden being shown a large Cornus mas in the centre of the city Lund on 1st September 2017! Here’s a picture of various forest gardeners harvesting the fruit (the tree was full):
Oskar M. Szczepaniak, Kobus‑Cisowska, J., Kusek, W. and Przeo, M. 2019. Functional properties of Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas L.): a comprehensive review. European Food Research and Technology. 245:2071–2087
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden