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Roses, strawberries and citrus thorns in Markus’s latest video

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Markus was live from Germany in this week’s Lubera UK Facebook video (which you can watch now if you missed it), and although he was talking about citrus thorns, roses and strawberries, the plants are the real stars of the show!

A Lubera fan has sent Markus a picture he loves - a strawberry with a green thumb that’s giving us the thumb’s up! So Markus is running a new competition, and if you upload your favourite strawberry pictures to the Lubera FB page, he’ll give a prize of 12 Lubera strawberry plants for the most interesting!

The thorny problem of citrus

Customers sometimes complain that their citrus plants have thorns, but they’re a natural defence mechanism against predators. Humans have been breeding less thorny varieties for thousands of years. Markus explains that kumquats, Calamondin oranges and mandarins and clementines don’t have thorns. Marmalade oranges don’t have many thorns, and the Ligurian variety Chinotto has none.

Most oranges have some thorns. The finger lime is very thorny, but it’s a lovely compact plant with small leaves, and bears fruits and flowers at the same time. Its new growth is tinged purple.

It’s time to choose roses

Lubera has nearly 300 varieties of roses in their collection, which are produced at the German nursery. For the next 10-14 days, they have a 20% discount. Markus explains why now is the perfect time to order pot-grown roses. He also has some helpful tips on how to keep your rose plants healthy.

Then he tells us the British history of the new Persica roses, one of the few modern innovations in rose types - they have lovely dark centres to their flowers. Lubera have 6 or 7 Persica roses in their collection, which also have the 20% discount at the moment. August is the perfect time for planting container-grown roses, so now is the perfect moment to order them.

And to choose strawberries

And Markus explains why Lubera breed new varieties of strawberries, when there are so many available already. I’ll give you a hint - they’re selecting new varieties for gardeners, who want robust plants with tasty fruits, rather than fruits that survive commercial transportation. You have to feel for Markus; it’s a difficult job, spending a whole day taste-testing strawberries!

Lubera have added a new dimension to strawberries - perfume. By crossing old varieties with modern ones, they’ve brought us the best of both worlds - large fruits with a good balance of sugar and acidity, and a strong perfume. For a June-bearing strawberry, the best of these new varieties is Swiss Heart (SchweizerHerz), which is named because it has slightly whiter flesh with a red skin, mirroring the colours of the Swiss flag. It’s a compact and fruitful variety, with firm fruits. It blooms a little later than many others, meaning that this year it wasn’t affected by the April frosts. It also fruits over a slightly longer period, 3-5 weeks. A good choice for UK gardeners.

For everbearing strawberries, Markus recommends Eternal Love for planting out into the garden, and a pair of strawberries for containers:  Fraisonette and Fraisibelle. Fraisonette has lots of blooms in spring, and lots of fruits now. Fraisibelle is a bit later and fruits over a longer period. If you grow both then you’ll have a lot of fruits over the whole season. Not the largest fruits, but a good crop with high flavour and perfume.

The best time to plant strawberries is in August, particularly for the June-bearing varieties, which establish well in the warm, dry soil and have the opportunity to develop next year’s fruit buds. Everbearers can be planted any time, but August is good for them too.

Tourist tips for the Netherlands

Markus has some tips for garden tourists in Holland! He has been to Boskoop, a small village surrounded by hundreds of plant nurseries. It’s a great place to visit gardens, buy plants and gardening books and enjoy a good cup of coffee, too. Nearby is the Medieval city of Gouda, which is a nice place to stay.

That’s it for this week. Next week’s show will be back at the normal time of 6pm on Tuesday. It will be the final show in the spring season. There will be a summer break, and then the next season will start in late summer. In the meantime, don’t forget to share your strawberry pictures on Facebook.

Emma Cooper

 

 
 
 
 

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