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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:
www.provenwinners.com .

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: www.burpee.com .

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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