Of raspberries and other fruits…… and cowslips

Raspberries and other fruits

For the price of one punnet of raspberries you can buy a plant that will give you raspberries for ever.  I will admit that this is in one of the supermarket chains and that is not the ideal place to buy plants, however if it was a choice between the plant or the punnet – you can see what makes sense.

I had just popped in to our local Morrisons store for a couple of bits and pieces, but being a bit of a plant geek I could not walk past the display without taking a look.   I came out of the shop with two autumn fruiting raspberries (Autumn Bliss), one Darwin’s barberry (Berberis Darwinii), one goji berry (Lycium Barbarium), and one Abutilon Megapotamicum.  I knew the first four were edible but had to check the abutilon when I got home which I now know has edible flowers.  The plants were £2 each and cost £10 altogether.

DSCN6835 bushes for the hedge

The abutilon will be going in a new bed alongside a new fence.  As the fence is being finished today I have not planted it yet.  I have just planted the raspberries, goji berry and berberis (above) in the boundary hedge to increase its edibility.

This is the first year I have tasted autumn raspberries, they are lovely and so welcome, I just had to have more!

DSCN6841 autumn raspberries

I don’t know how long these will continue to ripen but we are enjoying them while they last.

DSCN6840 rasp 1This little raspberry tucked in to the outside edge of the hedge beside a foxglove.

DSCN6845and this little one on the inside edge where it is a bit thin.

DSCN6844 goji

The goji (above) and barberry (below) are on the outside of the hedge.  It looks very dark in these photos, but it is an overcast day.  They will get plenty of light.

DSCN6843 berberis

I am looking forward to tasting the barberry berries, they sound very nice on Plants for a Future.

These plants are all small and I did not make any special provision for any of them, just popped them in where there is a space.  I will make sure they have room to grow, cutting back the hazel, blackthorn, hawthorn, etc that they grow amongst if necessary.  Let’s see how many raspberries I have to harvest come next October.

All these plants add to the already considerable number of edibles in the hedge.  At some point in the winter when there is less to do I will make a list.

….. and what of cowslips?

Our neighbours have told us of a time when the bank opposite our houses (which is now a wood) was a field with masses of cowslips flowering in spring.  It was, by all accounts, a beautiful site.  The site of our house and garden was likewise once a field which faced the cowslips across a very narrow valley.  The neighbours had a plant nursery here for some years before building on the land.  My partner and I have removed some of the lawn round the house to make space for flowers (and some edibles squeezed in).  It has been sown with all sorts of things, “weeded” only minimally when something was in the way and otherwise just left to nature to get on how she wishes.  And look what she has given us:

DSCN6833 cowslip

One sweet little cowslip which thinks it’s spring!  The seeds must have been dormant in the ground for many years and now having the opportunity to grow they have done so.  If I had been a regular weeder the small plant would not have had the chance to grow.  In time I will be able to divide the plant and sow its’ seeds.  Then the baby cowslips can join the raspberry, goji, barberry and everything else in and around the hedge.


About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
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4 Responses to Of raspberries and other fruits…… and cowslips

  1. Yes all raspberries like to go sideways. This i see as a way to avoid disease by the plant as well as to reproduce. Rapsberry beetle builds up and the quality of fruit goes down. they are naturally heavy feeders i think. They like edges of woodland in the wild with lots of leaf litter. If the canes are allowed to ‘walk’ they get this. so keeping them in a line isnt as healthy for them as letting their zone move. Keep the best canes each year, in a progressively movong population. You will still have extras for pals. i have woven bed edges with surplus green canes too: they dont root same as willow.


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      I remember Martin Crawford saying, when I went on a forest gardening course with him, that he let his raspberries “walk” as it seemed to suit them. I have been doing this in my other garden and have been surprised where they get to!

      I like the idea of using spare canes to weave as edges to the bed. I will try that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Anni be careful I grow autumn bliss raspberries and they spread like mad. I would put a trench around them and sink a board. I planted 6 canes when I took over my allotment a few years back and I’ve now got over hundred canes and I dig out loads every year.


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      Hi Gaynor, nice to hear from you. Thanks for the warning about the raspberries. They may not be as vigorous where they are against the hedge with quite large hazel, sycamore and blackthorn as neighbours. If they get too much I will dig some out and give them away or plant them along the lane!


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