Growing Raspberries Made Easy (Or At Least Easier!)

We love raspberries at our house. A lot. They might be our all-time favorite crop. We had a beautiful little patch at our last house and in our current yard we have a 60-foot-long patch of four different varieties. It’s raspberry heaven around here every late summer.

But it took us three tries before we managed to get them to grow.  I mean, they are practically weeds for most people, but we totally killed them the first two times we tried.  So frustrating!   Not ones to give up when there are delicious berries involved, I studied up and we planted again. Finally, success!  Since then we’ve had a number of friends come to us for tips on growing berries and I thought I would share those tips here with you.

1.       Plant at the right time- Early Spring is the best time to plant berries.  They aren’t affected by snow or cold, in fact they do better if they can get established before temps start to soar in the summer.

2.       Plant in the right place- Ideally you would prep your site in fall, so it would already to pop in the plants in Spring.  Raspberries like well drained, weed free soil and at least a half-day of sunlight. Avoid spots where you’ve already had raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, or peppers. These plants might have left evil pathogens behind that would harm your new plants.

3.       Plant bare root berries- You can find the widest variety of raspberries bareroot and they settle in faster. Bareroots are usually less expensive, too! And buy them certified disease free from a nursery, don’t be tempted to get them from a neighbor, they could have diseases.

4.       Plant fall bearing raspberries, for easiest care. Also called primocane or everbearing, they fruit on the newest canes each year (and if those canes are left, will fruit again the following summer). So easy to prune, you can just cut all the canes down to the ground in either late fall or early spring. You can have a crop of raspberries the very first year of planting. Yay for not having to wait for two years like you would with summer bearing raspberries.

5.     Plant them right- Soak your bare root plants for about an hour before planting. Space the canes 18-24 inches apart. Most bare root are shaped like an L, dig a trench for the bottom of the L, you want to make sure topmost roots on the plant are covered by about an half inch of soil. Firm the soil really well and water in.  Berries do best with adequate irrigation, we love having ours on drip lines.

Ripe Double Gold Raspberries, such pretty and delicious berry.

Ripe Double Gold Raspberries, such pretty and delicious berry.

Those 5 tips, in my opinion, are the most important when establishing a new raspberry patch. Now for a couple of fun bonus ideas!

                *Have fun with the varieties you choose. You can get regular old red raspberries at the store, so plant something harder to get like yellow or pink berries. We have Anne, a yellow, and Double Gold, a pink champagne color, and love them both.

                *Find a berry patch nearby and go try the different varieties. Find your favorite and order those. That is how we found our two favorite red varieties, Caroline, sweet with a bit of tartness and Joan J, a thorn less raspberry. Just thinking about them is making my mouth water!

                *Since this a flower farm blog, I should tell you that raspberry greens are a fabulous cut foliage for arrangements. Even the immature berries are pretty mixed with flowers in a vase. It’s one of my favorite greeneries to add to bouquets.

Raspberry foliage and summer blooms.

Raspberry foliage and summer blooms.

I hope these tips help you find success growing raspberries so that you can look forward to summers bursting with deliciousness!

Gift Ideas for Flower Lovers and Gardeners

It never fails, every Christmas, the Hubs and I start the same conversation-

Me: What do you want for Christmas?

Him: Hmmm, I dunno, what do you want?

Me: Ahhh, I’m not sure…

Ever happen at your house? Well, hopefully, this list will give you some ideas for that flower lover or gardener in your life, or maybe some ideas to add to your own list for Santa.

1. A Special Vase- A beautiful bouquet of flowers deserves a beautiful vessel. I personally love opaque vases because they give you a chance to hide floral frogs or chicken wire, those sneaky little bits of help that give you a hand arranging blooms just so. A classic white pitcher is always a win.

Spring lilacs in a classic white pitcher.

Spring lilacs in a classic white pitcher.

2. Winter is for Reading- Is there anything better than curling up in the middle of winter with a gardening book and dreaming of the Spring to come? Sounds like heaven to me.

A couple of great reads that are perfectly gift worthy-

Vegetables Love Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler is a wonderfully insightful book about growing both food and flowers hand in hand with nature. One of my all-time favorite books.

Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden By Erin Benzakein tells all about starting your own cut flower garden, with lots of beautiful arranging inspiration. So pretty!

Color Me Floral: Stunning Monochromatic Arrangements for Every Season by Kiana Underwood is a gorgeous inspiration for every flower arranger, novice or expert.

3. A DIY Floral Arranging kit- Martha Stewart strikes again with a simple tutorial for putting together a kit with everything you need to make a beautiful arrangement.

4. A Sego Lily Flower Farm Bouquet Subscription- I am undoubtedly biased, but this might be my favorite option on our list. Who wouldn’t love receiving a ever changing parade of flower bouquets all season? Starting in June with snapdragons and bell flowers, and ending in September with Dahlias and sunflowers, our bouquet subscriptions are a gift that keeps giving all season long.

Late summer subscription bouquets.

Late summer subscription bouquets.

5. A Gardener’s Journal- Gardeners are notorious for trying new things, a new variety here, an experiment there. Having a place to jot down notes can make remembering details from year to year much easier. It can be as simple as a pretty notebook or something more detailed like this five year Record Book.

6. A Gift Certificate to Their Favorite Plant Place- Let’s be honest, one of the most fun things about gardening is finding a gorgeous new plant or seeds to grow. A certificate to their favorite nursery, online or local, is just the ticket.

7. A Gift of Time and Labor- Sometimes the best gift is one you cannot buy. I’ve watched as my neighbor’s children have given her their time and labor over the years. They’ve accomplished marvelous things in her garden, building a garden she couldn’t have created alone. My own sweet husband gave me his Labor Day this last September, working with me to build an arbor to grace our garden. I couldn’t have done it alone, but together we built a beautiful thing.

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Not just Tulips: 5 problem solving bulbs to plant this Fall

Once, as an enthusiastic young newlywed, I planted what seemed like a ton of bulbs. Every. Single. Day that next spring I was checking for sprouts. Nothing, nada, zilch came up. I was heartbroken!! Since then I have happily had the chance to learn a bit more about bulbs and that is what I want to share with you today.

Problem: ARGH!! The deer (or mole, vole, or other dang critter) ate my tulips, again.

Problem Solving bulb: Cheery, pest reviled Daffodils

                Daffodils for the win!! Daffodils are simply not appetizing to the many hungry critters that can plague a winter garden.  You can find daffodils in a range of yellows and whites, and sometimes with orange or peach (usually called pink in catalogs) cups.  With so many fun shapes and sizes, planting new ones each year can be addicting (I want them ALL!), however most will come back year after year, even multiplying when happy. Some of my favorite varieties are “Geranium” a late blooming fragrant cluster of white flowers with golden cups and “Accent”, which is white with a apricot colored cup. See also Allium

Narcissus  “Geranium”

Narcissus “Geranium”

Problem: Quick, I need color STAT!!

Problem Solving Bulb: Sweet, bee feeding Crocus to the rescue.

February and March are painfully dreary to me. Do you get hungry for color at the end of winter too? Try some crocus in your garden! They are among the earliest of bloomers. Blooming in purples,  whites, and yellows, these little flowers are also favorites for early foraging bees.

Crocus blooming in the snow.

Crocus blooming in the snow.

Problem: I’ve got the late spring blah, blah, blahs

Problem Solving  Bulbs: Allium and Dutch Iris (yep, a two for one)

You know that moment, the tulips are gone, the daffodils are long gone, other than the greening up grass, your yard looks like winter again. Boring! Allium and Dutch iris can extend the spring color show, flowering later in May and June. I love both these blooms so much I’m adding hundreds to the farm this fall.  Alliums come in mostly purples, with some harder to find whites and yellows. Alliums, which are in the onion family also repel deer, take that Bambi!  Dutch iris come in a gorgeous array of colors and even make great cut flowers. Look for both in our bouquets this spring.

Allium going to seed.

Allium going to seed.

Dutch iris blooming in May.

Dutch iris blooming in May.

Problem: My tulips only bloom one spring and then disappear.

Problem solving Bulb: Darwin Tulips

I know, I know, these are tulips but often I hear how someone planted a bunch of tulips, had a beautiful display and then nothing the next year. So frustrating! Most tulips are meant to be treated as annuals, but there are a few types that will consistently come back without any back breaking digging and storing. Look for tulips that are Darwin types, and late doubles, these tulips are great at lasting at least several years in the garden. My favorites- Salmon Impression (all the Impression series are good), Marit, and Double Negrita.

Tulipa “Marit” with creeping phlox

Tulipa “Marit” with creeping phlox

So tell me, are you going to try any of these bulbs in your garden? Any favorites I missed?

A Rainbow of Yarrow

One of the true work horses of the early summer garden, yarrow is great in the landscape and in flower bouquets.    Yarrow comes in a variety of gorgeous colors, (avoid the common white, it tends to be a bit thuggish), is fast growing, and has low water needs, making it a winner in dry states such as Utah.  

Here are a few of my favorites.


Achillea Millefolium 'Paprika'

The very first to bloom in my garden, 'Paprika' starts out a rosy red fading eventually to a peachy tan. One plant will fill a three by three foot spot in your garden. I even have one plant of this variety that gets no supplemental irrigation and still blooms beautifully.

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 Achillea millefolium 'Cerise Queen'

Just beginning to bloom in late June in our 6a/6b zone, 'Cerise Queen' is a lovely magenta pink that blends well with other candy colored blooms in the early summer garden or vase. Reaching three feet tall by three feet wide.

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Achillea millefolium 'Pomegranate'

Pictures don't do this variety justice, it's a deep burgundy red that is hard to find. Stunning in fall arrangements, since it reblooms in the late summer.

 

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Achillea millefolium 'Tutti Frutti Pineapple Mango'

My very favorite yarrow, it is the prettiest peach with sweet yellow centers. So delicous! A little more compact in size, usually topping out at 2 feet.

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Achillea filipendulina 'Parker's Gold'

Different from the previous selections because it only blooms once, it makes up for its short season with its sunny color, three foot plus stems, and by lasting for ages in a vase.  Its ferny foliage looks lush and full even with very little water.

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We have some other yarrow that are new to us this year, namely Achillea millifolium Summer Berries mix and achillea ptarmica 'The Pearl' that we can't wait to see bloom.  I would love to hear about your favorite varieties. Do you grow yarrow?