It’s 55 days until the start of Wimbledon fortnight, and for us gardeners that means making sure we have two of the ingredients of any British summer firmly in hand – strawberries and mint. Because you can’t watch tennis without strawberries, and you can’t drink Pimms without mint!
Luckily for you, we’re fully prepared and have the plants you need to grow a healthy crop in time for the first day’s play.
Famously not a berry (it’s an accessory fruit or pseudocarp if you’re interested), the strawberry is actually a member of the rose family. The woodland strawberry was first cultivated for commercial use in the 17th century, but was replaced commercially by the garden strawberry, which was first cultivated in France in the 1750s. By 2011 there were over 4.5 million tons of strawberries grown worldwide.
If you’d like to add to that total this year, we have two varieties to choose from: Elsanta and Alice.
Elsanta flowers between April and June, and the fruit can be picked between mid-June and mid-July. In the right conditions they can produce 400-500g of fruit. They can be grown in containers or straight into a bed, and prefer full sun.
Alice is one of the best mid-season strawberries available. Flowering in May, it crops between June and July outside, or for longer in a greenhouse or polytunnel. The fruit have a sweet flavour and juicy texture.
An aromatic, perennial herb, mint will take over if you let it, spreading via underground runners. We find it’s best to restrict it by planting it in a container. Mint grows all year round, and tolerates most conditions, including full sun. As well as for use in cocktails, mint is used to brew as a tea, and also for mint sauce/jelly.
We have three mints to choose from: common garden, chocolate and pineapple. The chocolate mint smells like After Eights!
Do come down and stock up in time for the summer – as well as strawberries and mint we have a wide variety of other herbs and flowering perennials to make your garden look fantastic.
The nursery is open Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays throughout the spring and summer, between 10am and 4pm.