Red and sweet tiny Alpine Strawberries

Wild Strawberries or Alpine Strawberries are hardy, disease resistant and perfect for a low birder or edging plant.

Loads of Sweet Little Fruits

I discovered some wild strawberries once and brought a few plants home. They loved living at my house and multiplied into a beautiful ground cover in a small flower bed. My sweet husband thoughtfully cleaned up that flower bed one spring, ripping out all the weeds, which were my prized wild strawberries.

Since then, I’ve tried a couple of times to start wild strawberries from seed and failed. When I had the opportunity to start new gardens in a new home, I went a little overboard with these tiny berries.

I ordered “Mignonette” French strawberry seed from Renee’s Garden Seed and had great success using the AeroGarden. The plants, once started, are easy to grow. They are compact perennial Alpine strawberry plants producing sweet, pointed fruits from early spring to the last frost. I notice that Renee’s has an article about these itty bitty berries on her web page. This is where I got the idea to use these strawberries as an edging plant. Renee’s is one on the most reliable and prompt places to order seed.

That same year, I bought a Fragaria vesca “Ruege” plug pack of 12 plants from Richter’s. These little sweet and tangy berries are about the size of the wild ones on compact, runnerless plants but they do multiply and should be thinned every few years.Bears fruit from June til frost. Richter’s has the best selection of culinary and medicinal herb plants that I have found.

Both plants have multiplied rapidly. Since I planted them, they have mixed and I have no idea which is which. This spring, they started blooming in March. A freeze only slows them down but they soon begin setting bloom again. So, I am not worried about them surviving these late hard freezes in April.

I think that those monster sized rugged and tasteless berries at the grocery store turned me away from normal strawberries. The tiny wild or Alpine berry taste like strawberry candy in comparison.

The first year, it was a contest to see who would eat these mini delicacies, me or the birds. There are so many of them and the season is so long, that now the birds and I have agreed to share the abundant harvest. A third variety of strawberry grows in my gardens.

French‘Mara des Bois’ from White Flower Farm.

‘Mara des Bois’ lives in hanging baskets on the patio and are just starting to green up this year. Last summer I had one or two berries and a winged predator or possibly my beloved husband ate the rest. There were not a lot of berries because the plants were busy trying to escape their confinement by sending runners over the edges of the baskets. The berries are twice the size of the Alpine berries, but that still means a very small berry compared to what we find at the grocery.These hardy little plants over wintered in hanging basket sitting on the patio all winter.I’m always pleased with whatever I buy from White Flower Farm.

Fraises des bois is a French word for strawberries of the woods. The strawberries are also known by other names including: Fragaria vesca, Alpine Strawberry, Wild Strawberry, Woodland Strawberry, American Strawberry, European Strawberry, fraises des bois, and fraisier des bois. Call them what you will, these itty bitty berries a too fragile for transport. The little ones fetch premium prices at the market.

I’m sure the frost will take these little blooms. But the small and mighty plants aren’t about to give up. I thinned them by fifty percent this spring, tossing literally hundreds of plants. I should have been merciless and ripped out more and may yet.

The tiny berries are beautiful decoration on a desert plate. It is said that tea made from the leaves will stimulate the appetite. They grow as an evergreen edging along the sidewalk near the garden, making for easy picking as I walk by.

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