It has been a simple a week with nothing much to do but preparing for mum and dad to arrive. Got the room cleaned up and the linens washed. They will be sleeping in my room since its the only one with a queen bed, the rest were singles. I’ve done some tidying up in the house as well, the dining table is returned to its original state, a dining table, instead of having all sorts of things conveniently piled on it. But I shall not do too much cleaning as mum and dad loves to clean~ *laughs*

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It is amazing how one thought can lead to another, and another, and another… I was looking at the Lemon Meyer and Blood Orange at the heat corner, they are not doing fantastic, perhaps I could plant something else there, like the extra Goldbar and Goldstrike that I was going to get to plant up in another spot and espaliered. So, I went and look at the spot where I was going to plant the apricot trees. Then, I felt like being a bit of a miser, glanced at the existing Goldbar and Goldstrike that is recovering well being grazed by cows. Perhaps, if I can stop the animals from reaching for it… A windbreak from the leftover shadecloth would work. And if I extend the shadecloth for the whole length of the Western fence, I could plant some trailing berries too! Which I did thought of at some point.

So, that’s the plan. All trailing, non-running berries will be planted there, and the pots will be reserved for the running suckering raspberries. The spot where I planned to espaliered a pair of new apricot trees will have a cold frame in its place. I have always wanted a cold frame! Perhaps, I will eventually be able to grow peppers successfully in this marginal climate. What about the lemon and the orange? I am thinking of enclosing it with clear plastic along the walls, leaving the roof open, that will ultimately block out most wind and increase heat. An idea that just flashed through my mind less than a minute ago is to have two pieces of clear acrylic sheet that sort of function as a sliding door, that slides into each other, instead of swinging open.

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The framework is in, the shadecloth will go up next. Its going to block some of my view, but there’s not much of a view except for some possum infested digger attacked oak trees. The plus side is that I will get immediate shelter from the Westerly winds. This year’s gardening lesson, shelter is very very very important if you want your plants to do well.

I realized I am not that much a fan of blackberry, but more of raspberry and boysenberry type. The reason being that when you pick a blackberry, it comes off with the seeds in it, and you ended up with a mouthful of seeds, unlike raspberries which truly melts in your mouth. That said, Raspberry Ebony is back in supply! I saw them at Oderings retailing for $19.99 but I know I can get them elsewhere cheaper.

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I have stripped the Gravenstein Apple and William bon Chretian Pear. They ripened end of January. And Tom Putt Apple too. How do I know they are ripe? They start falling off the trees!

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Why are the “healthy” apples so large in size?

I was looking at the Pinot Gris grapevine growing on the clothesline, and I was wondering, maybe I should plant a Sauvignon Blanc on the other side, right by the kennel and they can meet in the middle. Apparently you can eat Sauvignon Blanc like a table grape.

Back to berry talk. If I am not that interested in blackberries, the only berries that I can let loose into the forest garden would be the black raspberries. They are erect growing and they don’t run, I’ve got to find a way to propagate them if I want lots of them. Tip layering would be the way, if I want to start a production system, it would mean laying the new plants down at a 45 degree angle and bending their tip into the ground. Could I get a production train going? Or, they can just be propagated via crown division in Winter. How’s that?

My berry wishlist:

  • Blackberry Black Satin. A highly rated American cultivar with sturdy thorn-less ‘canes’. The large luscious berries ripen early in the season around about January. The berries are very juicy with a tart yet sweet flavour.
  • Boysenberry Mapua. A great Boysenberry to grow as it is mostly thornless and has berries with an outstanding flavour.

  • Boysenberry McNichol’s ChoiceBerrys are medium to large in size, with a high yield, and a large number of berries per lateral. Excellent for your own picking and processing. Mosly spineless.
  • Boysenberry BruleeVigorous, semi thornless variety. Produces heavy yields of late season, large purple/black berries of excellent flavour.
  • Hybridberry Berry Delight. Mouth watering large dark rich red fruit with a delicious boysenberry/loganberry flavour. This bramble is crossed between boysenberry and loganberry. Thornless, heavy cropper. Also known as Marahau.
  • Hybridberry Thornless Jewel. Large, firm conical rich dark red/black berries. Old fashioned boysenberry flavour, juicy and sweet. A boysenberry cross. Thornless, heavy cropper.
  • Loganberry Waimate. White flowers in spring followed by large dusky purple-red berries, excellent aromatic flavour. The receptacle is left behind when picked. Trailing habit. Thornless.
  • Raspberry Skeena. An excellent variety of Raspberry with almost thornless ‘canes’ and bright glossy berries with an excellent flavour. Bred with good resistance to fruit rot.
  • Raspberry LewisA summer fruiting variety with a very good yield of medium to large red tasty fruit.Very delicious fresh. Great for pies and jams. Few thorns.
  • And of course, more, more, more, and more of Raspberry Ebony!

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Orchard Cottage this week.