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Fruit Shrubs To Sweeten Any Garden

Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic
Wikimedia Commons

Every yard needs a few fruiting shrubs to provide a delicious summer harvest. There are a lot of choices of shrubs that produce fruit. Some of the shrubs can be used as accents in the landscape. Most of the fruit producing shrubs grow at high elevations.

Currants and gooseberries are a hardy group of berry plants. They all bloom in the spring with showy, fragrant flowers. They have medium green leaves that turn yellow to orange in the fall. Their fruit varies from bitingly tart to quite sweet. 

There are black, red and even white currants. Pick all of them at the height of their color for the best flavor. Some of the fruit is small, only about a quarter of an inch. Others are plump, three-quarter inch berries. Because the mid-summer fruit is so tart, currants are usually cooked into jams sauces and syrups.

Gooseberries are the thorny cousins of the currants. Some varieties are so thorny it is hard to pick the fruit without bleeding. But a fully ripe gooseberry is worth the sacrifice. They have names like Jostaberry, Pixwell and Tasti-berry.  The durable gooseberry grows from the plains to the high mountains.

Blueberries will grow and produce along the Front Range. But the energy to give them the conditions they need makes it an expensive crop. Blueberries don’t like our clay, high pH soils; they don’t like our intense sun or wind; and they don’t like our low humidity. To grow them you need to create an unnatural environment. 

Then there are the bramble berries. A handful of fresh pecked raspberries in the cool of a summer morning can’t be beaten. Try a yellow raspberry variety like Anne, or the tried and true variety Heritage for a tasty red raspberry.

Brambles are a tolerant bunch. They do well in our native soil with a bit of compost turned into it. They like full sun but will grow where it is shady for part of the day. They like even moisture and won’t produce well if they are drought stressed. They will also grow from the plains to the high mountains.

Most raspberry varieties are ever bearing. This means they bloom and fruit on the current season canes. The old canes can be cut to the ground in late fall or early spring. The new canes grow, bloom and produce fruit by late July or August. 

Every yard needs a few fruiting shrubs. And if you don’t eat the fruit the birds will love it. 


Tom has been offering garden advice on KUNC for almost two decades. During that time he has been the wholesale sales manager at Ft. Collins Nursery, Inc. Since January of 2005 he has been the owner and operator of Throgmorton Plant Management, LLC., a landscape installation and maintenance company as well as a horticultural consulting firm. He lives in northern Ft. Collins with his wife and two kids.
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