Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Blueberries for All – Gorgeous plants, great taste

“There’s no reason not to have a blueberry in every garden,” says Amelie Brazelton Aust, second-generation owner of Fall Creek Nursery in Oregon. She should know. Fall Creek will ship 14 million plants worldwide this year, mostly for farming production.

Now for home gardeners, they’ve developed a new line called “Brazelberries.” These plants, Amelie tells me when I visit the nursery, must exhibit three qualities: “They have to be simple to grow, possess exceptional beauty, and taste delicious.”

The judges at Portland’s Farwest Show took note. The new Brazelberry Peach Sorbet™ received a coveted Award of Merit at the August 2012 trade show. A compact (3-by-3-foot) blueberry that grows well in containers, Peach Sorbet™ packs year-round interest with handsome new foliage that emerges pink-orange and ages to emerald green. Spangles of white flowers are followed by tasty berries.  An added bonus is the fall leaf color, which in mild climates shifts to eggplant purple. Wowie.

This show-stopper is the newest offering, but all blueberries bring four-season interest to your landscape.

“Everyone can grow blueberries, because no matter where you live, there’s a blueberry for your location,” Amelie says.

In many parts of the country, autumn is a fine time to add these shrubs to your landscape. In harsher climates, as you consign your less hardy plants indoors or to a greenhouse, know that you can find a cold-tolerant blueberry, but wait until spring to plant.

Sizes vary, from six to eight feet on down to three. These acid-lovers like to have their soil amended with sawdust or pine bark. A once-a-year pruning of the canes that have fruited or a general shearing helps shape the plants.

And then there’s that marvelous flavor, whether popped into a glass of champagne, or simply eaten off the shrub on a warm summer morning. The best are sweet, crisp and juicy all at once.

Here are Amelie’s suggestions for finding the perfect blueberry for your garden. In each section they are listed from early to late production.

Northeast and Northwest

Duke – 4′x 6’ heavy producer
Draper –4′ x 6′ crisp, big berry, stores well
Legacy – 6′ x 8′ aromatic berry flavors

For Southeast and Southwest

Sunshine Blue – 4′x4′ hot pink flowers, prolific
Emerald – 5′x 6′ huge crunchy berry
Star – 6′x6′ easy to grow, large berry

For the Cold— Zones 3 and 4

Polaris – 4′x4′, delicate flavor of wild berry
Northsky – 3′x 3′ most cold hardy, great taste