So why should you have a go at growing this remarkable fruit?
Well, they are not difficult to grow, and in a few years, you could be making your own gin! Those could be the only reasons you need to rush out and buy a Juneberry, but if you need a little more persuading, here are a few highlights.
Juneberries are an enormous, important crop in the Prairie provinces of Canada, namely Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Over there, they are known as Saskatoon berries, and, as a native to those soils, have been highly regarded as a medicinal and nutritious food source throughout history. Juneberries have more antioxidants than blueberries, blackcurrants and raspberries, and their ‘purple power’ is beginning to be recognised by a new generation of Canadians today.
You will always be able to find a spot in the garden for a Juneberry. Admittedly, they do need a small area of open ground, so a pot on your balcony would be better suited to a generous planting of ever-bearing strawberries or a miniature fruit tree. But, if you have a patch of ground, you’re halfway there. Plant it during the winter, because just like most fruit, it will need two or three months to put its roots down and get established before growth begins in the Spring. Position the Juneberry in full sun or partial shade. In the middle of the lawn, in the veggie patch, in the flower border or, one of my favourites, under the canopy of an older fruit tree – and try your hand at some agroforestry (A topic for another BerryBlog).
When you buy a bare-rooted plant, a two-year old will have 1-3 stems and be about 2ft tall. When you’re planning a forever home for your new addition, it would be advisable to remember that in 10 years the tree will have reached its maximum height of between 6-7 ft, and over the course of those years its width will grow to about 3 ft. I’m not suggesting that your Juneberry develops a hulking 3ft wide trunk – no! As Juneberries grow, they produce new stems from suckers, so after a few years, resemble a large blackcurrant bush. Having said this they are not an invasive plant, and only produce two or three suckers close to the main stem each year, once established. And you can put your secateurs away for a bit too. No annual pruning is required for at least six years unless you notice some damage, and then you can easily cut it out with a pair of clean snips.
Juneberries are self-fertile, so you don’t need to search for extra space for companion Juneberries if you don’t have it. Often when we have one of our wet and windy British Springs, many of our pollinating insects have trouble getting to the blossom, resulting in a poorer yield later on in the year. The beauty about a Juneberry is that each flower pollinates itself and, in a wind, pollinates the flower next to it, meaning that no matter how rotten the Spring weather gets, it will have no impact on the amount of fruit produced in the following Summer.
So, to recap, Juneberries are very good for you, easy to accommodate in the garden and are cheap because you only need to buy one! Need more convincing? Then look out for your next BerryBlog in two weeks’ time, or join our mailing list and become involved in our Juneberry journey www.juneberries.co.uk