Growing Just Photos

Enjoying the “Fruits” of my Labour

For years I’ve been obsessed with growing fabulous, fresh fruit right here in Central Alberta. Not just saskatoons and strawberries – but grapes, plums, cherries, watermelons – yes, even kiwis and apricots. And I want to grow it all in my own backyard. Well, I can’t say I’ve got all those things checked off the list yet, but this year I’ve gotten closer than ever before.

This has been a fantastic season for growing fruit. After starting from scratch 5 years ago, my backyard is now producing all kinds of different delicious fruit. One of my personal favorites has been my Pembina Plums. We had about 5 gallons of these amazing plums this year. So juicy and sweet! I don’t think there is a fruit I enjoy more!

Pembina PlumsThen there are my “Chums” – my Cherry Plums. This is the first year that they have produced, and they are quite a nice little treat.

Manor ChumsThis variety is the “Manor Chum”. They are greenish-purple on the outside, and deep purple on the inside. Very tasty.

Manor Cherry PlumAnother highlight for me this year has been my raspberries. My Wyoming Black Raspberry grew like crazy – so much so that I think I’ll have to cut them right down to the ground this fall! They have almost overgrown the north side of my greenhouse! But they sure produce a lot of raspberries! And they are the perfect compliment to my “Fall Gold” Raspberries. These yellow raspberries are so mild! It’s all the flavor of a raspberry without the ‘raspy-ness’!

Fall Gold and Wyoming Black RaspberriesOf course, my haskaps really started to produce this year. I was amazed at how densely these little berries covered the branches of my little bushes. The kids loved picking these for a little snack. (And I’m excited for when my wife bakes up a batch of haskap berries muffins this winter!

Haskap BerriesMy grapes continue to ripen – I expect to harvest them in a couple of weeks. (My grape syrup from last year has just about run out.)

Valient GrapesMy muskmelons are getting to be a good size too. (Never heard of muskmelons? Think cantaloupe.) They got a late start, but I think they’ll be big enough for a tasty dessert or breakfast in the next days.

MuskmelonAnd finally, another fruit that I’ve highly enjoyed has been my cherries. I believe I had three varieties produce this year – hoping for another two to be mature by next year.

Sour CherriesSo it’s been a pretty great year for fruit. And hopefully next year will be even better! My kiwis have grown like never before (their vines have reached my garage roof), my apricots are coming along nicely, my blueberries are surviving (though not exactly thriving), and my hazelnut tree is slowly making progress. So we shall see what next year brings…

Just Photos

My Fruit Trees Are Budding

Well folks, I took another photo stroll around the yard and snapped some of my favorite pictures yet! I’ve got some beautiful pics of my plums in flower, as well as a super cool close-up of my grape buds about to burst, plus a sweet pics of my haskap, and a new-before-seen view of my Patmore Ash. Have a gander and see what you think…

And make sure you click each picture for a larger view – I love the details of the close-up!

This is a bud from my Marechael Grape. Notice the bits of fuzz… That’s awesome! Who knew, right?

Haskap. Borealis, I believe this one is. Again – who knew flower buds were so fuzzy?

Just Photos

Here’s What’s Growing By the May Long-Weekend

It was way back in in the June of 2008, that I took a Photo Stroll Around the Yard. That’s some time ago, so I figured it was about time to do it again. Of course, now I have a whole new yard to stroll around in! Anyway, here’s some of the things I found growing around the yard…

First of all, my tulips are just starting to open up.

And my raspberries are just starting to show signs of life.

My watermelon is looking just fine. (I haven’t had success with watermelons for about 4 years, so I’m hoping this year will be the one!)

My Borealis Haskap seedlings are doing well. I just got them planted last week.

And I always love seeing the white blossoms cover branches of my plum trees!

And my hostas are just starting to unfurl…

It’s amazing to me how soft the needle/leaves of the larch trees are.

And of course, I wandered over to my neighbors yard and had to take a few pictures there too! They’ve got all kinds of little violas popping up everywhere.

This was one of my favorites so far this spring – sandcherry blossoms in my neighbors yard  just about to open!

And finally, bleeding hearts, also growing at my neighbors. (Mine just got planted last week – so they’re a little behind.)

And that’s what things look like around here. Next time around I’ll have to show you my tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, kiwis, and grapes!

Haskap Just Photos

A Few More Haskap/Honeyberry Pictures

This morning I made an unexpected discovery. While checking my an email address that I haven’t used for months, I found that my brother-in-law had emailed me some photos that he had taken last June of the haskap/honeyberry plants  I had planted at his farm about five years ago. The photos were taken last year, so these plants are four years old. Have a look…


Do you have any pictures of haskap/honeyberries? Post them in your comments below!


Haskap / Honeyberry Pictures (After Three Years)

As promised earlier, here are a few haskap/honeyberry pictures. These were four inch seedlings about three years ago. They have been grossly neglected, but they seem to be doing just fine. This is the first year to get a significant crop of berries.


A close up of a berry.

Haskap Berries

Not so close up of several berries – I see about 12 ripish berries.

Three year old Haskap

This is right on the southwest side of the deck – it’s a solid three feet tall.

Three year Old Honeyberries

This is out kinda in the middle of the lawn. It’s starting to make a nice hedge.


Haskap/Honeyberries 2009 Update

All I can say is WOW! These haskap are amazing! As most of you know, I moved last summer and had to leave behind my haskaps just as they were starting to produce. I got a few small handfulls from my two dozen plants. Well, just yesterday I went back to visit my brother-in-law (who now lives at my old place) and saw the haskap. I was blown away! The plants had more than doubled in size this year and were covered in little berries. Most were green still, but there were some ripe enough for a taste test. It was a slow start, but wow what a jump from 2008 to 2009! I’ll certainly be planting more haskap at my new place!

Haskap Berries

Sorry about the old picture – this is actually a picture of last year’s berries. I didn’t have my camera with me on this trip, but I’ll sure try to get out there again for a few pictures!

Upick Farm Review

Prairie Perfect Orchards near Innisfail

This weekend was the annual Summertime Country Drive (a collection of 25 central Alberta farms & attractions). One of the destinations along the way was Prairie Perfect Orchards – a brand new fruit farm featuring cherries, honeyberries, and apples. Although this was just their first year open to the public, they easily win the “Best Presentation Award”. Their grounds are beautifully landscaped and well kept, facilities are clean, there are attractive signs everywhere so you never get lost – and even the grass was weed free!

Prairie Perfect Orchards

My Experience

First impressions were great. As I stated above, everything was beautiful. After we parked we walked towards the main building and were cheerfully greeted by the owners. Although we caught them between seasons (too late for honeyberries, and about a week too early for cherries), they offered us samples of cherry sauce [for ice cream and such], cherry jelly, and a delightful rhubarb beverage. We also got a tour of the apple orchard and the cherry orchard.

Apple Orchard

The apple orchard [pictured above] was not yet in production, but it is expected to come online by 2010. Our host named a half a dozen+ varieties that he was growing – all the best apples that grow in this part of the world. I’ll be interested to check out this orchard again in a couple of years.

Cherry Orchards

The cherry orchard was beautiful – with cherries just dripping off the young plants. There are at least five varieties that I remember – the Romance Series cherries that were recently developed at the University of Saskatchewan. They are just four years old now (I believe) and will be ready for the picking in about a week’s time through to autumn.

A Final Word

Although I’ve never yet picked a single berry at Prairie Perfect Orchards, I certainly plan to. If your looking for cherries in the central Alberta area, this is the place to go. And if you’ve never been to a upick farm before, this would be a great place to be introduced. Their pristine property feels more like a park than a farm and I feel they will only improve with time.

Want to Visit Prairie Perfect Orchards?

Here’s what you need to know:


From QE#2 take the Cottonwood Road exit (just south of Innisfail), travel west to RR#14, north 2 miles (3.3 kms.) to Twp. Road 354, west 1.8 kms. to the orchard on the north side of the road.


Cherries, Honeyberries (and soon apples…)


Not sure – I’ll update when I go pick cherries!

Other Info:

You can call (403) 227-1301 or email [email protected] for more information


It’s Haskap Season!

Yes, it’s true.  I’ve been eating haskap berries this past week. Not bucketfuls, but small handfuls anyway. At this point, only my Cinderella variety have ripe berries. The others are still coming. It’s interesting to note that there are far more berries on the Cinderella variety than either the Berry Blue or Blue Bell, but the Berry Blue plants have grown probably two or three times as large this year.

None the less, there are berries out there and some are ripe. Most of them are quite tart, though I may be rushing things in the way of ripeness. My measure of ripeness has been to let them get a dark purple color, then to give a slight tug on the berry and if it pops off easily, then it must be ripe. If it wants to stay attached a little longer – I let it stay.

Haskap berries on June 21

Haskap berries on June 22

Haskap berries on June 22

I never did get any netting put over them, but I don’t think the birds have discovered them yet. We’ll see how long that lasts…


Early Haskap Berries

I took a talk around our yard today and was pleased to notice that my haskap plants were covered in little green berries.

Haskap (honeyberries)

It won’t be long before I put up the netting around them to protect them from the birds. Man, am I excited to eat a big bowl of these things in a few weeks!


Haskap Blossoms in May

Back in November I wrote a post called “Introduction to Haskap Berries (aka Honeyberries)“. Currently, this post is the most viewed post on this site – by far. And so I thought it would be appropriate to give you all an update on how my haskap are growing this year.

Actually, they’re doing quite nicely. In fact, they’ve been blossoming for about three days now.

Haskap Blossom

Haskap Blossom

I have my haskap growing in two locations. The flowers above are from the bushes on the west side of the house. They are a little more protected, have pine bark mulch around them, and seem to have the most flowers – or perhaps just the earliest flowers.

The other haskaps pictured below are on an east-facing hill with no shelter and are mulched in old hay. I don’t see as many flowers on them, but they are doing well none the less.

Haskap on May 17th

There should be honeyberries (haskap berries) ready to pick by mid to late June. I’ll hopefully get a chance to update you before then – perhaps when I put on my bird netting a couple of weeks prior to picking.

Any other good haskap pictures out there? I’d love to see ’em. Drop me a line!