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Gardeners have planted fruit-bearing trees and plants for many, many years.  So why are edibles taking center stage as one of this year’s hottest gardening trends?  Because the category is full of exciting innovations and product introductions!  Here’s a look at just some of the exciting varieties you’ll find in our garden centers this growing season. 

Raspberry ShortcakeRaspberry Shortcake™

Some of the most impressive innovations in the edibles category relate to raspberries and the Raspberry Shortcake™ Dwarf Thornless Raspberry is a perfect example of just that.  As the name indicates, it is a dwarf, thornless raspberry which means you don’t have to stake it nor do you have to avoid pesky thorns when picking the fruit.

Developed by Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Raspberry Shortcake™ has a compact, rounded growth habit (grows two to three feet tall) so it can easily be incorporated into your existing landscape or planted in a large container and enjoyed from your patio.  It produces super sweet berries mid-summer.  Plant in full sun for best results and water regularly when the top three inches of soil are dry.  Look for Raspberry Shortcake™ from Monrovia in our garden centers this May.

Chippewa BlueberryChippewa Blueberry 

If you love growing and enjoying fresh blueberries then take a look at the Chippewa Blueberry variety.  Its delicious light blue berries are large and sweet in flavor.  The blueberries ripen mid-season which means you have plenty of time to enjoy them fresh or in your favorite summer recipes.  
 
One of our favorite things about the Chippewa Blueberry is the fact that it is a compact shrub (grows three to four feet tall).  Place them in pots and enjoy them on your patio or integrate them into existing planting beds where space allows.  The Chippewa Blueberry should be exposed to sun for best results.  Look for the Chippewa Blueberry from the Greenleaf Nursery Company in our garden centers this season!        

An Interesting “Twist” on Apple Trees

One of the most interesting innovations in apple trees is something known as an “Apple Twist Combo”.   These apple varieties have been grown in the same pot, twisted together to provide visual interest and selected for similar bloom times so they pollinate each other!
 
You’ll find two different combinations of apple twist trees from Northern Family Farms in our garden centers this season:  Honeycrisp/Honeygold and Honeygold/Cortland.  In both cases, the two individual fruit varieties bloom on the tree at the exact same time which allows them to pollinate each other.  The end result is two different varieties of apples on the same tree.  Here’s a look at the three different apples featured on these two intriguing varieties of trees.
 

Honeycrisp ApplesHoneycrisp Apples

Introduced by the University of Minnesota, this mid-season apple is yellow with red overtones.  It is known for both its crispness and sweet, slightly tart flavor.  We happen to think Honeycrisp Apples are best when eaten just as they are, but they’re also great for salads and in sauces.  These apples have an excellent storage life (up to 6 months) which means you can enjoy them long after you harvest them.

Honeygold ApplesHoneygold Apples

Introduced by the University of Minnesota, this mid-season medium to large apple is golden yellow with a reddish blush.  It is known for both its crispness and juicy, sweet flavor.  Similar to the Honeycrisp, Honeygold Apples are perfect for eating fresh, but are also great for cooking and baking.  They also store very well.   

Cortland ApplesCortland Apples

This medium-sized mid-season apple is known for its bright red color.  It is unique because its crisp, white flesh maintains its color longer than the average apple after being cut.  It has a crisp, slightly acidic taste.  Cortland apples are perfect for eating fresh or can be used in baking or sauces.   
 
Look for Honeycrisp/Honeygold and Honeygold/Cortland Apple Twist Combo varieties from Northern Family Farms in our garden centers this season.

 


 
Sources:
Raspberry Shortcake™ Dwarf Thornless Raspberry. Monrovia. ©Monrovia 2013. 26 April 2013. www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/3466/raspberry-shortcake-dwarf-thornless-raspberry.php.
Vaccinium corymbosum 'Chippewa'. "Greenleaf Nursery Company." ©Greenleaf Nursery Company 2013. 26 April 2013. www.greenleafnursery.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/plants.plantDetail/plant_id/2644.
Fruit Trees. "Northern Family Farms." Cortland, Honeycrsip, Honeygold. 26 April 2013. www.northernfamilyfarms.com/detail.php?plant=84.  www.northernfamilyfarms.com/detail.php?plant=90. www.northernfamilyfarms.com/detail.php?plant=89.
Images courtesy of Greenleaf Nursery Company, Monrovia Nursery Company and Northern Family Farms.
Raspberry Shortcake is a registered trademark of Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Inc.
 

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