I had a black chokeberry bush at my old house and LOVED it! The bush was attractive, with glossy green leaves in summer, gorgeous fall color, lovely spring flowers in panicles reminiscent of flat clusters of hydrangea blossoms, and the berries made the best tasting jam I've ever had. Not only that, but they're full of antioxidants. The flavor is a cross between wild grapes and blackberries. I was just reading this article about other uses and it's got me even more excited, because my 10 aronia plants just came in the mail! http://umaine.edu/agriculture/home/aronia/culture/ Whatever cultivar I had before did NOT sucker, at all, but that's supposed to be the main way to propagate them.
These will be along the front of my new barn to prevent erosion, and as a small hedgerow from the barn to the driveway. My cattle were walking too close to the barn and their weight on the wet mud was pulling the soil away from the foundation, which could have disastrous consequences in the future! I put up a temporary fence to keep them well away from it, and will move the fence back to just leave me a path to harvest the berries once the grass recovers in the rest of the area from the barn construction. I plan to pot up any suckers or young plants that volunteer to sell/give away, and use the excess fruit for my goats and pigs.
The bushes are native to the US and grow well in almost any conditions. They don't have any insect or disease problems, other than some mildew if they're in too much shade. Some say they are the next up and coming fruit, much like the goji berries and acai in the health industry.
Just planted two aronia Viking a couple of days ago. I took some cuttings in the process, and am hoping to plant them out next spring. We're planning to line our usual path from the house to the lower yard with hedgerows of aronia and other flowering plants and berry bushes. The dream is to produce a fragrant, abundant trail leading to a clearing in a small woods (also just planted).
For anyone in Quebec, we found three varieties of aronia and seven varieties of female sea buckthorn at Pépinière Gaucher in Brigham. The owner is very knowledgeable and a member of the sea buckthorn producers' association. And the prices are fantastic!
Zone 3b, Lower St. Lawrence, Quebec
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