GARDENING: Its berry time

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In spite of all the rains, berry time – or if you prefer, soft fruit time – has arrived.

May I first pay tribute to our the ‘back room boffins’ who continue to keep us so well supplied with bigger and better ranges.

While many tried and tested older varieties are still popular I list here my choice of the newer strains well worthy of your consideration:

Gooseberries: Forget the old, hard ‘goose-gogs’. Try Espera, dark red and sweet, Xenia, another red dessert, large and sweet, and Hinnonmaki, which is yellow – ignore the name and do try it, sweet with a hint of apricot.

Raspberries: For late fruiting Allgold or Joan J. Early type F1 Toscana is a brand new release with a big reputation and Fenella is first choice for a late crop.

Blueberries: Draper is a new variety – extra early.