By Steve Bible
Note: Bonnie Plants no longer carries Tristan strawberries.
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to trial two brand new strawberries from Europe, Loran and Tristan, at my own home. I planted the Loran strawberries along with some lavender and violas in the tall concrete planters that stand in front of my house. The Tristan strawberries I planted in a backyard plot alongside some rosemary, then put marigolds around the border. (As you can tell, I love these kinds of combination gardens.) Then I let nature grow them all for me, though I did add a little fertilizer a couple of times.
The concrete planters filled out nicely, and the Loran strawberries bloomed with an abundance of white flowers. The garden area in my back yard also grew well, but the Tristan strawberries bloomed with beautiful deep pink flowers. Many of my neighbors, the mail delivery person, even people passing by our house on the road noticed the flowers and asked about them. They were all pleasantly surprised when I told them that they were strawberries!
My 96-year-old grandmother mentioned to me that she knew strawberries had white flowers, but had never seen any with deep pink blooms. So we planted some pink ones in the flower box on her back porch, and she showed them to all of the friends who stopped by to visit.
The story, of course, does not end there. A few weeks later, those flowers had turned into tasty strawberries. Our 6-year-old enjoyed this as much as we did (and still do)—he helped plant them, pick them, and eat them—and I like that he learned that strawberries don’t just come from the grocery store. There’s nothing like fresh strawberries!
Probably the best part of the story, though, is that we were able to pick strawberries from these plants throughout the spring and summer and even into early fall. My son would put the extras into containers, then drive his battery-powered 4-wheeler to our neighbors’ to deliver fresh strawberries. That was a lot of fun to watch. They came back even stronger last year, and I’m confident we’ll be getting loads of flowers and berries this year as well.
It makes no difference if you are a beginner gardener or someone with lots of experience: I think Loran and Tristan strawberries should be on everyone’s “must have” list for spring planting — especially now that Bonnie Plants is carrying them! Not only do the plants need minimal care, but they’re also gorgeous “edible ornamentals.” They exhibit showy, colorful flowers that turn into large-fruited, tasty strawberries. Whether planted in the ground, as part of the landscape, in patio pots or hanging baskets, or in window boxes, these edible jewels are simply irresistible.
Steve Bible is the account manager representative for Express Seed Company, which supplies Tristan and Loran strawberry seeds to Bonnie Plants.