Thursday, 26 June 2014

In Disguise

Two years ago, I bought a gooseberry bush from our local nursery. It was labelled as Pax, a red, thornless variety. It was late in the season so I kept it in its container until the following year when it got planted out at our old plot. When we realised we were moving sites, we dug it up and popped it back in to a container so that we could plant it at the new plot once we'd moved. Needless to say, it didn't crop at all last year.

We still haven't got round to planting it out, it's still sitting in its container in the garden, however, it's tried to fruit, there's two or three gooseberries on the plant. From what I can see, the fruit is green, not red as we were expecting, so I'm not sure if it's been labelled incorrectly or if the fruit is in disguise and will change colour as it matures. Also, it certainly isn't thornless. Perhaps thornless just means less thorns than other varieties, I don't know.


A couple of weeks ago, Mick noticed that every leaf on one of the branches had totally disappeared. He doesn't know very much about pests and diseases, and even though I've never grown gooseberries before and don't know much about them at all, I had heard of Gooseberry Sawfly. I can't stand critters of any description so I asked Mick to check the plant and sure enough, he found about half a dozen little caterpillars methodically eating their way through the leaves. It looks like he got to them just in time as since then, there's been no further damage. This pest can attack red and white currants as well as gooseberries and they can strip a bush of its leaves in no time at all.


We've got a gooseberry bush which had been left on the plot when we took it over and that looks to be cropping well, so I shall be looking for things to make with them as it's something I'm not familiar with at all.

My blueberries look as though they're going to give a decent crop this year. I didn't think they had many flowers earlier on in the year, but I can't have looked close enough as there seems to be lots of fruit.


I'm just waiting for them to ripen now and then blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes will be on the menu. Yum yum.

36 comments:

  1. I am the exact opposite - lots of gooseberries but no blueberries - shame we are not close enough to do a swap! Xxx

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    1. I'm hoping that I'll have plenty of gooseberries at the allotment, they should make up for the one at home. I'm not sure I'll have any spare blueberries to swap, even a decent harvest from three bushes doesn't yield that many.

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  2. So interesting! I have never seen gooseberry sold here. And have never heard it was grown here too. Looks like a lovely plant.

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    1. I don't think gooseberries are eaten as much here now as they used to be. I remember them from my childhood but I don't hear many people mention they eat them, unless they grow them themselves.

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  3. It sounds like you've got a different gooseberry to the label as Pax is definitely a red, thornless variety.
    Pests like that are such a nuisance. Flighty xx

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    1. I don't think you can really trust plant lables these days. I'm surprised this one's wrong though as it's tied to the plant. There seems to be a pest for every plant.

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  4. Gooseberry sawfly strips the plant in no time doesn't it. If you catch them early enough squishing them gets rid of the blighters. Spraying with derris powder does too, but you have to choose your time. A thornless gooseberry ! Heaven ! I didn't know there were such things.
    Gill

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    1. It's the first time I've come across Gooseberry Sawfly, but it certainly hadn't taken them long to strip a branch of its leaves. I'm not sure there's such a thing as a thornless gooseberry, this one's certainly got some thorns, even though it's supposed to have none. It will be interesting to see if the gooseberries do change colour.

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  5. Blueberry muffins.....lovely.

    I tended my mothers garden the other day. At the back of the plot I found a gooseberry dripping with fruits.
    My father planted it a couple of years before he died. It never fruited for him.....he loved gooseberries, such a shame.
    My mother does not like them, so guess who will be taking them home :)

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    1. Blueberry muffins are a favourite here. I think the gooseberries are your reward for tending your mother's garden. It's a shame that the plant didn't fruit for your father.

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  6. I love seeing all the fruit appear. So far we have got raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, black currents and red currents, not to mention the mass of strawberries we have had. My lot love blueberry muffins.

    X x

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    1. We're getting lots of strawberries at the moment and the rest of the fruit is just starting to ripen, we've had the odd raspberry, but lots more to come. We all love blueberry muffins here too.

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  7. 'Pax' sounds too good to be true Jo :) No doubt whatever you have will do well once it gets to the allotment. I got my goosegogs as small cuttings from another plot holder who did not know the name but advised me that it was a good cropper. They have finally come good this year although picking the fruits is a rather dangerous pastime. The leaves on both my plants were decimated by sawfly last year but they seem to have escaped this year. Enjoy those muffins and pancakes!

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    1. It looks like it's too good to be true too. The gooseberry bush at the allotment is planted between a row of raspberries and the blackberry so I think it's going to be tricky picking them, and the bush is full of thorns so I'll have to remember to wear long sleeves. We must have got to the sawfly just in time as the rest of the plant has escaped unscathed.

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  8. I have been beaten by a gooseberry bush today, thorn straight into the end of my finger, Gooseberry 1 - Me 0 lol. Maybe I should buy thorn less.

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    1. Ouch. It's really sore when you get something in the end of a finger, especially a thorn. I'm sure those delicious gooseberries will be worth it though.

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  9. My red gooseberry has green berries for a good while before turning red! It also has some extremely viscous thorns. I'm waiting for my blueberries to ripen for the same reasons!

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    1. Mine may be a red variety afterall then, I shall watch for the fruit changing colour. My blueberries are a way off ripening yet but my mouth's watering already at the thought of the muffins and pancakes.

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  10. I can thoroughly recommend gooseberry fool, stewed gooseberries mixed with cold custard and whipped cream, sounds a bit grim in that description, but tastes divine!!!! You could also do a sort of Eton Mess with stewed gooseberries instead of strawberries, that is good as well! Oh and gooseberry crumble!! Gosh, I am hungry and want to eat gooseberries now. I hope that you get lots of fruit and enjoy eating them, whatever you make them into Jo! xx

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    1. I'm not a lover of custard so a fool would be out, but I think Eton Mess with gooseberries would be lovely. As you say, a good old crumble works with most fruit, and it's one of my favourites.

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  11. Do you grow your blueberry in a pot? Are they an acid loving plant do need to put acid compost in there. I would love to grow one but my soil is not acidic I had not thought of growing one in a pot.

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    1. I have three blueberry bushes and they're all grown in containers. They are acid loving plants so you need to use ericaceous compost. It's much easier growing them in pots as it's easier to keep them in the conditions they like, they seem to do well enough grown this way.

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  12. My Blueberries are just beginning to turn blue. I reckon your Goosberry probably was mis-labelled. I think that happens quite frequently because garden centres often employ staff that don't know much about plants!

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    1. There's no sign of my blueberries ripening just yet but I don't suppose it will be long. I think plants do often get mislabelled, however, in this case it won't be because the staff weren't knowledgeable as it was bought from a fabulous local nursery which has since closed down as the owners retired. It's such a shame, I (and Sue) miss it very much.

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  13. It should be interesting to see what your mystery plant finally yields! I rather like surprises. How wonderful to have so many blueberries, I have new bushes so don't have many fruit and I don't have a single gooseberry.xxx

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    1. It will be interesting to see if the gooseberry turns red or not. We all love blueberries so the more the better. I hope your bushes start producing for you soon.

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  14. Gooseberries do all start green but I would have thought I would be turned red by now.

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    1. Perhaps it is a green variety then. It's a shame if it's been mislabelled as I like to know the varieties I'm growing.

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  15. It is hard to say from a picture, but I have several gooseberry varieties and I would think what you have is "Invicta". It is my favorite one. Here in Canada it will be ripe only in 10 days or so. Look it up on the net, you might be able to figure out if it is indeed Invicta. Good luck identifying it.

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    1. Thank you. I suppose my gooseberry may turn red yet, it's a bit of a waiting game now while I wonder if it's a red or a green variety, time will tell I suppose.

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    2. If it is Invicta, it will stay green (reddish green, but green).

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    3. I'll let you know what happens.

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  16. Never really liked the taste of gooseberries but I remember having a chicken dish served with gooseberry sauce, delicious, went together really well, something to try maybe. Have a great weekend xcx

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    1. That sounds lovely, I shall have to look up a recipe and give it a go when my gooseberries are ripe.

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  17. I have one gooseberry bush and get about a standard tuperware box of fruit each year from it. Sawfly was a problem last year but not seen it this year. I vaguely remember seeing a programme where they removed the centre growth from the bush which deterred the sawfly. I did this and haven't see them this year.

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    1. I've heard about removing the centre growth, in effect, pruning in to a goblet shape. It's good to know that it works, I shall have to make sure I do this with the bush at the allotment. I haven't given it any attention yet but I really need to get to grips with all the fruit so that it rewards me well each year.

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