Blueberry shrubs are easy to grow, attractive year round—and, of course, produce delicious berries.
GROW YOUR OWN | Blueberries thrive in our little corner of the planet—they love our climate and generally acidic soil—so if you want to grow something both good to eat and attractive to look at (what can I say, I’m married to a garden designer), you might want to leave room for a blueberry bush or three in your garden or grow this yummy fruit in tubs on your balcony.
A Shrub For All Seasons
After the fruit, the best thing about blueberries is that they look attractive year round, not just in spring when they bud and blossom, or in summer when they produce fruit. Deciduous blueberry leaves turn red in the fall, and some varieties have gorgeous reddish branches to carry you through winter.
The Birds And The Blueberries
If you plant blueberries, bird thieves will come, which explains why the Aquilini family, with 1,200 acres in commercial blueberry production in the Lower Mainland, employs full-time falconers and their raptors to police the berry fields during the summer months (a great green initiative). Short of training your own common kestrel or netting your fruit, you might want to erect the effigy of a barn owl or raptor near your plants to scare the thieves away—or plant so many bushes that you’ll have berries to share with the robins that will show up to dine. This worked for friends of ours; they have 37 blueberry shrubs (both low- and high-bush types in a variety of cultivars) that provide them with cereal bowl fruit throughout the growing season, plus tons of extra snacking berries to divvy up with the birds.
Where To Buy Blueberry Bushes
Our spy, a serious urban farmer who adores growing berries of all sorts, tell us that the widest selection of (all) berry producing shrubs can be found locally at Gardenworks (they have 17 varieties of blueberries, including the novelty pink lemonade blueberry shown above) on the Lougheed Highway in Burnaby, while the best prices for blueberry bushes right now is at Maple Leaf Garden Centres on the North Shore, where they have one-gallon tubs in nine different varieties for $7.97 each.—C. Rule