Berry Good

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Virgil Evetts

Finally, success in the berry patch! My various currants and brambles are performing like never before this year- with the ongoing exception of my blackcurrant. I’m finally ready to accept that Auckland is just too warm for this plant. It’s aright really; I have little patience for jam-only fruit (except Damsons!) anyway. Conversely my redcurrant bush-going-on-tree is covered in fruit. Although redcurrants, don’t taste of much, they’re just so pretty- like edible Christmas decorations- and their tart juiciness works nicely with creamy desserts and roast meats. Strangely, the marauding blackbirds that usually plague my fruit growing efforts don’t seem to have noticed the redcurrants yet.  As with the ominous silence of naughty children, this probably means they’re up to no good elsewhere.

My boysenberry has formed an impressively prickly thicket and is currently sporting a hundred or more pink-tinged fruit- several times last year’s yield.  Sun-warmed fresh boysenberries are one my favourite treats of the season and very few even make it indoors.  They’re almost  too good for sharing.

My original raspberry plants never really liked their plot and were evicted last Autumn to make way for the bees. In their new position under the Moro blood orange tree they’ve run rampant.  Every day or so they waylay me with a small handful of juicy, velveteen fruit.

In the last few weeks  Ive been enjoying the first fruit from my tayberry. This raspberry/loganberry cross has large crimson fruit, a potent raspberry flavour with just a hint of rose-water and a texture akin to boysenberry. I’m seriously smitten and will be encouraging the clump to put on some serious growth this season.  Quite possibly the finest of all brambles…

My goji berry is back in leaf but whether or not it makes it to flowering – let alone fruiting- remains to be seen.  Although very easy to grow, these much touted ‘super-fruit’ are more troubled by snails than any plant I’ve come across. Snail bait or not, the scraggly bush is stricken every year.. You have to know when you’re beat as a gardener.  

But the real star of my fruit garden so far this season has been my Japanese plum (Dan’s Early, Koanga). My bees had a grand time amongst the blossoms a few months back and as a result the tree is now groaning under the weight of intensely flavoured, crimson fleshed fruit.

We’re enjoying these de-stoned, chilled and dressed with a little icing sugar and glug of grappa. Doesn’t sound like much but trust me- it’s sublime and so perfectly red.


Did I ever tell you that I finally found a fruiting Orange berry plant? It was growing in a display bed at a Garden Centre, so I palmed a few fruit and popped them into my mouth. Yes, I know naughty me. Anyway I can finally confirm that Orange berries really aren’t worth growing. The fruit are sweet, slightly pithy and taste of very little. Grow something else.

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