PLANT OF THE WEEK
Haskap bush (honey berry)
WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT
Some form of this plant is native to most polar countries, so it's guaranteed to grow in even the coldest parts of ours. Indeed, the reigning cultivars were developed at the University of Saskatchewan, their berries full of antioxidants. I have tasted jam made with many varieties and it is delicious, with a flavour that encompasses both sweet (like strawberries) and tart (like saskatoon berries or blueberries). The yellow-white flowers of this plant resemble honeysuckle, but, unlike many in the family, it does not sucker aggressively.
WHERE TO PLANT IT
Buy two to get fruit, putting them in a sunny spot with well-drained soil that has lots of organic matter to it. If it doesn't deliver, add lots of compost around the base. Over five years, the bush will grow from one and a half to two metres tall. It will tolerate both wet and dry soils, but, like any newly installed plant, will need regular watering the first year.
WHAT IT OFFERS
Those brilliant blue berries offer the thrilling promise of breakfast-cereal accompaniments only steps from your door. They should start producing around early June, a year after planting. The shape of the shrub itself is also very handsome, as are the waxy, dark green leaves.
SOURCE AND COST
You can pick up one of these plants for $20 (or two for $35) at PC garden centres (www.presidentschoice.ca) across the country.
Visit www.marjorieharris.com for more gardening and plant information.