And is there honeyberries still for tea?

With apologies to Rupert Brooke and The Old Vicarage, Grantchester, it looks as though, after the annoying discovery that there will be no plums this year* there may be some honeyberries.

I planted the honey berries (Lonicera caerulea) last spring. They were in 9cm pots and about 15cm high. They are planted in two rows, between the apples up the drive and although there were a few flowers and berries last year (enough to make me wonder if they really taste nice) they made a little growth and this spring are covered in bloom. The flowers are produced in pairs but are not very showy, being creamy yellow. They are all stamens and styles. The young foliage is variously tinged with purple in some cultivars. I am sure they will look more attractive when the plants are much bigger. They are only about 30cm high at present and should get to 1.5m high and wide.

Honeyberries have fruit that is similar, in use, to blueberries but the plants are more amenable and do not need highly acid soil. They tolerate cold and seem to tolerate soil that is a bit wet in winter. They should be self-fertile but it is usually suggested that you plant more than one cultivar. I planted five cultivars and 22 plants in total so they should cross pollinate if they need to. Curiously, the flowers seem to be completely ignored by the bumblebees which are too busy with the pulmonarias.

*In fact one tree has four flowers so there is hope – but not for a pie!

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4 Comments on “And is there honeyberries still for tea?”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    March 23, 2022 at 8:14 pm #

    Honeyberries are new to me but sound promising in that they seem less fussy than blueberries, which haven’t been a great success with me. I look forward to reports later in the year.

    • thebikinggardener
      March 24, 2022 at 7:57 am #

      They should be a good thing if they taste decent. They ripen early; before strawberries, so should take the pressure off rhubarb. I am sure the birds will devour them but if I plant enough of them there may be some left for me.

      • Paddy Tobin
        March 24, 2022 at 8:58 am #

        I must watch out for them. Where did you source them?

        • thebikinggardener
          March 24, 2022 at 11:42 am #

          You can get some here – Futureforests for example – but I got them from Poland to get a range of cvs because a lot of the breeding has been in eastern Europe in the past, though the US is making big strides now.

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