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These berries are both ornamental and delicious

Summer Breeze Deep Rose strawberry plants have great flowers as well as sweet fruit. (Photo courtesy Burpee)

New red-flowered strawberries look great in baskets

These strawberries earn double takes. Their red flowers are as attractive as their fruit is tasty.

A new wave of red-flowered strawberries is finding its way into gardens nationwide. They’re grown not just for their fruit, but as a year-round ornamental.

A staple of kitchen gardens, strawberries may be the original edible ornamental. Along a border or hanging from a basket, these little berry plants are naturally pretty with shiny green foliage and jewel-like fruit.

Red flowers add one more dimension to their beauty. In this progression, those flowers are now getting bigger and showier.

Last year, I tested Berried Treasure, a red-flowered strawberry introduced by Proven Winners. A novelty in my community garden, it was a hit with its eye-catching semi-double rose-red flowers and little alpine berries. It will be showing up in garden centers this spring. Details: .

As part of its 2019 collection, Burpee now offers two red-flowered strawberries: Ruby Ann and the new Summer Breeze Deep Rose.

Ruby Ann ($13.99 for one plant) makes an excellent hanging basket berry, crowned with clusters of single deep red flowers. Everbearing, it produces abundant fruit in spring and summer. It’s a berry first; it just happens to have pretty red flowers.

Summer Breeze Deep Rose (four plants for $19.99) is much more ornamental. The double red flowers look like tiny red roses. It also looks fantastic in a hanging basket where its jewel-like fruit clusters can dangle.

“Its flowering intensity looks like a bedding plant,” said Burpee’s George Ball. “The berries are small -- snacking size or alpine – but very sweet. It’s a beautiful edible.” Details: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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