Grown’ It Baby: Soup Up Your Yard With Homegrown Superfruits

(NAPSI)—Superfruits—fruits that are exceptionally rich in  vitamins and antiox

idants—are popular ingredients in a variety of  healthy foods.

Fortunately, although “superfruit” connotes something rare and  exotic, a surprising number of these plants, including aronia, elderberry and  goji berry, are hardy shrubs that can be grown right in your backyard. They’re  easy to grow and require no spraying or complicated pruning and produce pound  after pound of juicy, nutritious fruit every year.

Aronia

Aronia is a large shrub native to eastern North   America. With showy white flowers in spring and blazing red  leaves in autumn, it makes an excellent choice for landscaping around your  home. Large clusters of glossy black berries ripen in late summer, making  aronia a standout in the kitchen as well as the garden.

The fruits are sometimes known as chokeberries because of their very sour  flavor but they can be sweetened and used in juice, jam, desserts, even wine,  which makes it even easier to savor their high levels of antioxidants and  vitamins. In fact, they’ve been enjoyed in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe,  and Russia  for decades.

Aronia tolerates winter temperatures as low as -40° F, and does best  when planted where it will get at least six hours of sun each day.

Elderberry

Elderberry is another North American native shrub that you can count on to  beautify the landscape and provide bumper crops of nutritious fruits.

Varieties that have been selected for ornamental foliage are especially  useful for home gardeners, as they are even more attractive than plain green  wild types.

Black Lace, which was developed in England, where elderberry flowers  and berries are eaten regularly, has delicate, lacy foliage in a dramatic  near-black color.

Black Beauty has bigger, bolder foliage but the same dark purple-black  color. Both offer large pink flowers that give way to small black berries  that are very high in vitamin C; research suggests they can be effective in  minimizing flu symptoms.

Elderberry plants don’t mind cold weather, surviving through  temperatures of -25° F, and they can grow well even in partial shade (up  to four hours a day). For the most abundant elderberry harvest, you should  put at least two plants in your garden.

Goji Berries

Goji berries are antioxidant-packed and sell for high prices at health  food stores but they’re actually easy-to-grow shrubs. Also known as  wolfberry, the rich purple flowers appear in early summer and are followed by  gleaming red berries. The plants produce fruit continuously until autumn and  never need spraying or special attention.

Though goji has been popular in China  for many centuries, specially selected varieties have only recently become  available in North America. These include  Sweet Lifeberry and Big Lifeberry goji from Proven Winners ColorChoice  Shrubs, and they were chosen for their exceptional vigor, flavor and size.

Goji berries can tolerate temperatures as low as -20° F. They need to  be grown in a sunny spot but they’re not fussy about soil and need  little water or fertilizer once they’re established. They can be  planted in the ground or grown in a large pot on a deck or patio.

Learn More

You can find all these plants at a garden center, in the fruits or the  shrubs section. They cost between $20 and $50 depending on size.

For further facts, tips and recipes, visit www.ProvenWinners.com/VitaminBerries.

Seven Secrets For A Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Landscape

(NAPSI)—Anyone who thinks a low-maintenance landscape has to be  plain green and ugly should think again. With a bit of planning, some smart  plant choices and the help of these seven garden designer secrets, you can  have a yard that’s the envy of your neighborhood—and enough time  to enjoy it.1. Choose plants that will flourish  given the realities of your yard. Some plants like full sun while others  tolerate shade; some don’t mind freezing temperatures while others are  unfazed by relentless heat. Selecting plants that thrive in the existing  conditions of your site ensures a healthy, attractive landscape. Observe the  light levels around your home—six to eight hours plus of uninterrupted  sun each day indicates full sun, four to six hours is considered part shade  or part sun, and less than four hours would be a shaded site. Plants at the  garden center should have tags that tell you their light preferences.  Shopping locally helps ensure that all the plants you see will be suitable  for the climate in your yard.

2. Plant drought-tolerant shrubs.  These specially adapted plants thrive with limited water once they are  established (usually after their first season in the ground).  Drought-tolerant plants sail through hot summer days easily, saving you the  time and money it takes to water the landscape. Read the tag attached to the  shrub for information on its drought tolerance or look for visual cues such  as silvery-grey leaves, as are found on Petit Bleu caryopteris,  and narrow, needlelike foliage, as on Fine Line rhamnus.

3. Spare yourself the time it takes  to prune your plants by opting for compact varieties. Compact (also known  as dwarf) plants never get too large for the space where you’ve planted  them so you don’t have to bother with confusing pruning instructions. Most  people’s favorite plants are available in compact, no-prune varieties:  hydrangea lovers can try Little Lime or Bobo  dwarf-panicle hydrangeas or the tidy Cityline  series of big-leaf hydrangea. Rose fans should take note of the low-growing Oso Easy series with its range of 10 vivid colors, all  under 3’ high. Even butterfly bush, a shrub notorious for its giant,  sprawling habit, is available in a compact 2’ height with the  innovative Lo & Behold series.

4. Choose plants with high-quality,  attractive foliage. These look great even when not in bloom, beautifying  your landscape for months instead of just a few weeks. Colorful foliage,  including the dark purple of Black Lace elderberry or the cheery gold of  Chardonnay Pearls deutzia, and variegated foliage, such as My Monet weigela or Sugar Tip hibiscus, make engaging focal points  from early spring through late fall. Mix them with such evergreens as Castle  Spire holly and Soft Serve false cypress for year-round color.

5. Plant in masses of three, five  or seven of the same kind of plant. This gives your landscape a cohesive,  professionally designed appearance. Plus, weeds cannot grow if desirable  plants are already taking up the space, eliminating that notoriously tiresome  garden chore. Planting in groups of odd numbers is a designer’s secret  for a bold statement that doesn’t feel too formal or fussy.

6. Mulch. A two- to  three-inch-thick layer of shredded bark mulch not only gives your landscape a  pleasing, finished look, it conserves water by reducing evaporation. It also  keeps plant roots cool and shaded, allowing for healthy, vigorous growth that  resists pests and diseases naturally.

7. Don’t be afraid to replace  the plants that take too much of your time, or those that you don’t  really like, with new, easy-to-grow shrubs. At www.ProvenWinnersShrubs.com,  there are so many improved varieties available now that there is little  reason to settle for anything else.