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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 Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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