Some of the most versatile fruits for even a small garden are Gooseberries and Currants. In the past most gardens, even in town centres, contained a gooseberry bush, possibly the reason for the old saying for something of uncertainty-“ Oh it’s under the Gooseberry bush”. Currently these tasty fruits seem to have gone out of fashion which is why we do not see enough of them in the shops. Thanks to more mildew resistant modern varieties and better treatments Gooseberries are seeing a revival.
Traditionally grown in East Kent for the early London market varieties like “Keepsake” were also sold locally. In recent years much of the crop has been sent for canning or for jam making. However there has been a resurgence of interest in Desert varieties whether “green and crisp”, “yellow and tasty” or” red and mouth watering”.
Why not grow your own?. The National Fruit Collections at Brogdale contains some 400 Gooseberry varieties including the main English varieties many from the 19th century as well as 20th century favourites such as Kents own “Invicta” and “Leveller and popular “Careless”
New varieties such as “Martlet” can also be inspected
Gooseberries are productive and easy to maintain provided you can deter Wood Pigeons when the fruit is developing!
The Gooseberry collection can sometimes be visited as part of the regular guided tours offered daily at Brogdale and they are always included on Sundays during the fruiting period from the end of May until July and there will also be experts on hand at the SOFT FRUIT DAY on 24th June.
Taste, learn about and admire these attractive fruits and select varieties to suit your garden and importantly, your palate.
At the Brogdale Plant Centre “Grow” there is now a wide selection of Gooseberry varieties to order, from the free fruiting “Alma” to the large deep red sugary late variety “Victoria” unearthed in 1902 in Northumberland - a reminder that these wonderful fruits can be grown the length and breadth of England .
Come to Brogdale and learn more about the history, cultivation and use of these delicious fruits.