SASKA­TOON ‘NORTHLINE’

Garden Answers (UK) - - Gourmet Grower -

What is it? ‘Northline’ is a cul­ti­var of Ame­lanchier al­ni­fo­lia, a pretty, mul­ti­stemmed suck­er­ing shrub na­tive to North Amer­ica that reaches H2.5-3.5m (8-12ft). In sum­mer it pro­duces sweet, pur­ple, blue­berry-like fruit to eat fresh or cooked. De­spite ap­pear­ances, ame­lanchier be­longs to the Rosaceae fam­ily, which in­cludes ap­ples, plums and roses. ‘Northline’ is self-fer­tile and flow­ers slightly later than some other cul­ti­vars. How should I grow it? Th­ese are ro­bust, hardy plants, but it’s best to avoid frost pock­ets to pro­tect the May flow­ers. They pre­fer a sunny or part-shaded site on fer­tile, moist but well-drained soil. Plants will take less than per­fect con­di­tions with the ex­cep­tion of very heavy wet ground. How do I look af­ter it? Once plants are es­tab­lished (af­ter four or five years) prune out one or two of the oldest stems each year to en­cour­age ad­di­tional young shoots. When are they ready? Plants bear fruit from 3 to 5 years old, ripen­ing in June or July hence its nick­name, Juneberry. They can be dried as well as used fresh. Where can I buy one? A 3L pot­ted plant costs £19.99 at Cro­cus (01344 578111; www.cro­cus.co.uk) or £15.95 at Ken Muir (01255 830181; www.ken­muir.co.uk).

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