This title might sound strange to you, in that we don’t usually think of these two plants in the same sentence, but both of them are on my radar screen. Roses because they are blooming and we have a class coming up, and berries because of a new introduction I want to talk about. First, let me introduce you to “Baby Cakes”.
Fall Creek Farm and Nursery in Oregon is a leader in the industry when it comes to introducing new and exciting varieties of blueberries. They have brought us the BrazelBerry line of dwarf berry plants including “Peach Sorbet”, “Jelly Bean”, “Pink Icing” and “Blueberry Glaze” - all of which are compact growers and mostly evergreen. This spring they offered us “Perpetua”, another dwarf plant that is supposed to produce two crops a year. Fall Creek also brought us the dwarf and thornless raspberry “Raspberry Shortcake”, which only gets 2 to 3 feet tall and produces a nice crop about this time of year. For 2017 (we actually have them in stock now) they have developed a thornless dwarf blackberry called “Baby Cakes”. It only gets 3 to 4 feet tall, produces a spring crop of large berries and if the summer is mild, will actually ripen a second crop in the fall. The plant has a shrubby growth habit, unlike other blackberries, so it needs no staking or trellising and let me repeat myself, it is thornless. All of the BrazelBerries are suitable for growing in containers, if you are tight on space, but I think they will perform better in the ground where they have more room for root growth. If you decide to grow them in containers, plan of re-potting them every few years or they will become too root bound and start to decline. Like any container plant, regular feeding makes a huge difference and nothing works better in my book than Gro-More Sea Grow. Plant a “Baby Cakes” this summer and you might even get a surprise crop of berries this fall. If not, you will be way ahead of the game for next season.
As for roses, it has been a very early spring. Of the 1000+ plants we have at the nursery, most are in full bloom or even ready to cut back for a second bloom. The fragrance is heavenly and the color spectrum is amazing. While other nurseries may sell a larger selection of roses, I like to think that we have picked out the best ones for the northwest. Despite the fact that breeders are continually coming out with new disease resistant varieties and there are many more choices for organic controls, roses still require consistent attention to look their best (unless you stick with the landscape types like Floral Carpet, Easy Elegance or Knock Out). Regular fertilizing, pruning, watering and disease and insect control will produce much better results. If all of this sounds overwhelming, plan on attending our free rose care class this Saturday, here at the nursery at 10 a.m., where you will learn all of the tricks of the trade from rose enthusiast Trevor Cameron, C.P.H. Learn about growing climbing roses, English roses, hybrid teas, floribundas and all the shrub or landscape choices, including the Rugosa varieties.