- Position: full sun, but some shading needed in very hot weather
- Soil: any well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Hardiness: fully hardy
A superb traditional variety that is easy to grow with good disease resistance and heavy crops of fruit. The ruby-red, medium-sized gooseberries are sweet when ripe (usually mid-July) with a tangy outer skin. The fruit is perfect for bottling and preserves, but if left to ripen fully can be used as a dessert gooseberry too.
- Garden care: Prepare the ground well before planting. Remove all weeds and dig in plenty of well-rotted manure into the area. Space at 1.5m intervals and once planted, apply a mulch of well-rotted manure every spring, as well as a nitrogen and potassium fertiliser. Make sure the plant is watered in dry weather and net the bushes to protect the fruit from birds.
Goosberries are usually grown as open-centred bushes that have a good branching structure on a short stem. They produce their fruit on wood that is 1 year old. Their pruning should be done in late winter or early spring - just as the buds are beginning to break. In areas where gooseberry mildew is prevalent, tip pruning in summer should also be carried out. In their first year, cut back all the shoots on newly planted bushes by up to three-quarters of their total height in winter. If they have already been cut back then just nip the stems back by an inch or so. This will encourage the formation of side shoots. In their second winter, choose 8 to 10 of these new stems to form the main framework and shorten them by up to a quarter. Then remove any remaining shoots that are growing into the centre of the bush or are crossing or rubbing against other branches. Finally cut back all the remaining shoots to within four buds from the main stems. In subsequent years, the plant can be trimmed in two ways. Establishing fruiting spurs is quite labour intensive, but will produce a small crop of larger fruits, while removing whole branches right back to their base will produce a bigger crop of smaller fruit. To form fruiting spurs, cut back all the shoots that have formed in the previous year to a bud approximately 8cm from the point where it joins the main stem. New branch leaders should also be cut back to within a few buds of the older wood. Alternatively, completely remove old, weak or crossing branches to open up the centre of the bush and then cut back any growth that is coming from below 10cm above ground level.