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I’ve always been an advocate of lettings things grow to see what they are, or how they develop. Don’t get me wrong, once I know what they are, I am as ruthless a weeder as the next person, but a little curiosity can be a good thing for it occasionally brings about beneficial surprises.

In a flower bed, foreign territory to me, but all hands to the pumps for early season weeds I came across a young self seeded gooseberry, and determined to let it develop to see the fruit it produced. Over time it responded to encouragement and produced more than acceptable cooking gooseberries, as there was space in front I was modest in my pruning allowing the low growing branches to touch down and root, perhaps the easiest way to propagate gooseberry’s for your involvement is only to ensure contact with the soil and nature takes over, producing roots on the end of the branch, and a growing eye from which a main stem grows in the next season.

If you let this grow on, not only does it produce a stout vigorous stem, but a better way to establish a gooseberry standard bush I have yet to find. Separate from the main plant by cutting the branch from which the root developed as close to the new growth as possible, either the end of the season or the early start will do. Support with a cane to prevent rocking and remove those side shoots as they appear.

If you let things go for another year or two, further eyes and shoots will grow from the original branch. This gives you the opportunity to have a bush form which is linear. The shoots develop in the same line along the branch, so instead of having a round bush you have a straight line. Now this really does have added benefits when it comes to picking and pruning, not to mention space saving attributes. If you like your bushes round you can always cut up the original branch and have each growth eye as a separate bush or I should say bushes.

How good is the method, well 30 plants later and virtually no involvement from me, and all these beneficial attributes, I have to say it sure beats taking cuttings. This only leaves me having to find good homes for them before I become overwhelmed.

As it’s a new variety produced from a chance seed dispersing blackbird, it only leaves me to give it a name to reflect its attributes, hence the title. Tasty , as it goes well in pie or sorbet, green for the colour, and the name after one of the oldest residents, born in the village, and a better gardener you’d be lucky to meet.

I haven’t forgotten about the grafting, it should follow next……

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