If you've ever been mystified by the myriad of different hybrid berries and wondered what the difference is between a loganberry and a tayberry, then help is at hand. At RHS Garden Wisley our three year plant trial of blackberries and hybrid berries is nearing its conclusion - so now is the ideal time to come and see it while cropping is in full swing: you can even try some for yourself on Wisley's Flavoursome Fridays.
The entries of tummelberry (a cross between an unnamed hybrid seedling and tayberry) and loganberry (a cross between raspberry ‘Red Antwerp’ and blackberry ‘Aughinbaugh’) were the earliest to start cropping, both having had their first pick on 1 July.
Almost all of the entries are now fruiting and the trial is being cropped three times a week. The fruit of each entry is weighed and recorded every time it is picked. This will give us a good picture of how each entry performs over the course of the season.
During the recent hot weather the plants have been watered twice a week to ensure they have enough moisture to produce good quality berries. As a result, plenty of lovely juicy berries are regularly being taken to the Wisley Restaurant for use in delicious recipes.
The next trial assessment meeting will take place in mid-August. The forum members assess the performance of the plants by looking at their vigour; pest and disease susceptibility; the number of new canes being produced; whether or not they have spines. They also assess the size and appearance of the fruit and how easy it is to pick. The berries are tasted fresh and at the next meeting they will also be tasted cooked, to see how they perform for different culinary uses. Results will then be collected and new Awards of Garden Merit will be decided.
Some of the berries from the trial are available for garden visitors (normal garden admission applies) to try as part of RHS Garden Wisley’s Flavoursome Fridays. This takes place between 1.30pm and 3.30pm every Friday until 4 September.