03/01/2014 - My how fast 2014 is flying by. Wasn't Christmas just a few days ago? Now it is well into march and we are finally starting to see some nice days, even if they are sporadic.
As I was getting ready to write this month's article I happened to spot a tag from one of our new bush cherries we are growing this year. As many of you know getting a sweet cherry to grow in Casper is a difficult thing for most of us to do. Although there are a few people that have told me that they have had good luck with sweet cherry trees around here, it is definitely the exception not the rule. The trees that are surviving are likely planted in just the right sheltered spot.
"Carmine jewel" is one of our new cherry varieties; bear in mind it is a bush cherry, so the plant's stature will be just that, not a tree. But it is bred to have "Large gorgeous purplish red fruit with a luscious balance of high sugars." Sounds like just the cherry I have been looking for. It is recommended for pies, preserves, juice, drying and fresh eating. They list fresh eating last, so it is probably a little tart, but if any of you have ever eaten sour cherries from most of the trees here in town, you know that they couldn't even list fresh eating on the label. They are so sour they could probably peel paint from a car.
Even if they are not as sweet as the cherries grown in warmer climates they sound like a great cherry for Casper. They are rated as a zone 2b, so they are more than hardy enough for our winters. Being a bush form has great advantages in the landscape because they will make much less of a footprint in the yard.
I recently moved into a new house and it has a 4' wide area between the driveway and the secondary parking. I figure I'll put them in there and hedge them. A shiny green leaved hedge with large fuchsia colored fruit sounds pretty good. My driveway might take on a merlot hue in the fall, but I think I can live with that.
If you are looking to add edible fruits to your yard, this will be a good one. As with most of our plants they are grown right here in Casper so they won't be shocked when you plant them outside. In addition to cherries, our greenhouses are full of all sorts of plants for this year. It always surprises me just how fast they fill up. At the end of January they were all empty but two and now all seven are filling up. Spring is just around the corner so dust off your gardening gloves and get ready!