Gooseberry - could it still be alive?

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Graham_Bextor, Jul 31, 2020.

  1. Graham_Bextor

    Graham_Bextor Apprentice Gardener

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    Dear All,

    Firstly, sorry if this is in the wrong place, it's my first real post and was not sure.

    This is a bit of a long story, but I'll try to keep it short :)

    My Grandad, who always had a piece of string and a penknife in his pocket had a gooseberry bush. He loved to potter about, as Grandads do, in his garden. He told me the bush was from his mum's garden and when he moved to his last home, he dug up his loved gooseberry bush and moved it with him. When he was here no more it went in my mum's garden and when she was here no more, I could not leave it as the house, my childhood home, so I dug it up and moved it to my house. Here it lived outside in a large tub. I didn't want to dig it up for a third time! I was doing well until a few years ago and I think it had nibbled leaved and no fruit that year. More years past and on its final year looked very ill. We took too long to take it out of the pot to look at the root because when we did it was being attached. Some nasty looked beetle bug thing living in the soil looked to be eating the roots. Sadly, I washed all the soil off and replanted but the gooseberry bush died. I has heartbroken think it had been kept for 100 plus years and I killed it. I'm not sure how long it's been but I've been snipping off this weed that keeps growing between the patio slabs in our garden where the gooseberry bush was for years in its pot. This year with everything going on I haven't been in the garden much but saw it again and tried to find the cutters and couldn't so forgot about it. Only when a family member came in jumping up and down did I see a gooseberry bush where I thought it was an annoying persistent weed. (I don't garden in my glasses!!)

    Finally, my point (sorry) is this plant is growing in the cracks exactly where the gooseberry bush was in the pot. Could it have seeded or rooted? I want to lift the slabs and carefully extract it, but do I wait for later or sooner? How can I protect it and sort of make a copy of it please? I feel I have a second chance and really want to preserve this gooseberry bush. I appreciate the bush from 100 years ago is probably not the original bush but maybe and off shoot (children?) of the original bush.
    Sorry I am not much of a gardener but this years we have been doing lots more because of Covid-19. I just want to keep it and preserve it somehow. It's fascinating that I've been hacking it back thinking it's a weed and somehow seeded from the main plant. I don't know if that's even possible.
    I'm going to try to attach a photo, fingers crossed but I'm not sure how to do this.

    Many thanks if anyone reads this and I'm sorry for the ramble / story.
    Best to you all
    Graham

    (Edit I've put the photo in the reply post, sorry if I am confusing anyone)
     
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      Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
    • Graham_Bextor

      Graham_Bextor Apprentice Gardener

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      OK I've found out how to send in a photo and it was quite easy.
      Here is my gooseberry between the paving slabs which I've been snipping off thinking it was a weed, really need my glasses in the garden now!
      At some point I need to lift the slabs carefully so I don't damage it but from my snipping it's a hardy plant!
      Sorry for the second post in the first one I just did my best!
      Thanks all.
      Graham

      (I'm just wondering now if that is a gooseberry considering my glasses issue!)
       

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      • JR

        JR Chilled Gardener

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        Hi Graham,
        That looks exactly like gooseberry foliage.
        If you remove the paving and carefully dig deep to retain as much root as possible, and then have a tub ready with multi purpose compost, re plant and water well. I'd put it in a sheltered spot without too much sun.
        If you can delay this until September/October even better.
        I've found these plants to have a strong tenacity and I've moved one successfully last year.
         
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        • NigelJ

          NigelJ Total Gardener

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          Sounds as if it had vine weevil grubs eating the roots, nasty little pests.
          Nibbled leaves could have been due to gooseberry sawfly.
          It could be a shoot from the root of the original, but I would do as Jymi suggests in the autumn. It should then grow away next spring. It would be better if you could plant it in the ground, but if you want to keep it in a pot I then next year I would transfer it from the multipurpose compost into something like a John Innes 3 compost which is a soil based mix designed for plants that are going to live in pots for a long time.
          Gooseberries are tough old things, they also propagate easily from cuttings if you want more plants for your family, but let it get going first.
           
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          • Graham_Bextor

            Graham_Bextor Apprentice Gardener

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            Thank you Jymi and Nigel,
            Yes I agree I'll try to keep it watered somehow and safe until Sept/Oct.
            I'm just so pleased because I thought I lost it as a plant and it's meaning to me.
            While I am sure it's a plant off a plant etc going back (like they all do I guess) it's still 'that' plant I though I had lost.
            Yes I think it was gooseberry sawfly when someone googled it and a horrid weevil for sure that killed the bigger plant in the large tub.
            If I can get it going and then take cuttings from it, I feel all my eggs would not be all in one basket!
            I'm just amazed that a root from the bottom of the original pot went through the patio slabs and took hold. Then more amazed that I thought it was a weed and have been snipping away at it!!
            This plant must want to keep on going.
            Interesting I was bought a replacement gooseberry but the green fruit turned red/purple so that must be something different to my older plant.
            Many thanks for your replies.
            I'll try to remember and post a 'post dig up replanting photo'.
            Best to you all
            Graham
             
          • Mike Allen

            Mike Allen Total Gardener

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            Hello Graham and a very warm welcome to the forum.

            Really! What a wonderful account. Forgive me please, but it's the kind of story that tends to soothe away all the many, perhaps downturns of the day.

            Yes, your photo is that of a gooseberry plant. From what you have related so comprehensively. I would suggest this is basically a root cutting.. So that nasty root eating bug that you discovered had actually in a mythical way, said. Thank you very much for my dinner. Please accept this token of my appreciation.

            Now the saga develops. You state that the original plant/bush was really old. There is no disputing this. Trees in particular have a history of long gevity. Many of the giant sequoia are over a thousand years old. I have no doubt that many of our present day shrubs and trees, those having a woody main stem may well be related via DNA, something for me to research.

            Of course it's now very much upto you. I have to admit. If and when the aging of the plant comes into question. I suspect there will be differences of opinions.

            Many thanks for sharing.
             
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            • Green Knees

              Green Knees Gardener

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              You could take a cutting off that and have two plants.

              P. S. All the time you were removing the top-growth the root system will have been growing stronger & bigger.
               
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              • Graham_Bextor

                Graham_Bextor Apprentice Gardener

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                Thank you everyone for replying.
                So the gooseberry plant is still alive, growing between the paving slabs for the moment.
                I've been checking on it most days as I really don't want to lose this 'second' chance.
                I've taking the advice from here to wait for Sept/Oct to carefully life the slabs away and then I'm going to plant it in a large tub with good drainage. I'm going to buy some John Innes 3 compost from a garden centre for this purpose. I don't really have a place in the garden to plant it in the ground, hence the tub.
                I want to keep this plant alive and as soon as possible when it's stronger will take one or two cuttings. I would like to ask how and when to take a cuttings please. Ultimately I would like to have a few plants from this one just to preserve it really.
                I'll take and post some photos when I come to free it.
                Many thanks
                Graham
                 
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                • Green Knees

                  Green Knees Gardener

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                  I've found cuttings from a gooseberry very easy, in fact everytime I snap the end off a branch I cut back an inch or so of bark off the bottom and put the cutting in water. Root-type spikes gradually appear and at some point I just pot them.
                  I've done two now and they're the only cuttings I've ever done.
                  Beginners luck?
                   
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                  • ThePlantAssassin

                    ThePlantAssassin Gardener

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                    @Graham_Bextor
                    What a lovely story. I think things like this are so important. I so hope you have success. Wishing you all the luck.
                     
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                    • Graham_Bextor

                      Graham_Bextor Apprentice Gardener

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                      Quick update, still have not been brave enough 'yet' to lift the slabs and gently dig it out.
                      However, the lockdown is going to make me purchase the John Innes 3 compost, as recommended way back in August, before Thursday when I think Homebase shuts with lockdown for a month or more?
                      It's looking good poking out between the slabs.
                      I still can't believe I have a second chance :)
                      I'll post photos just to let you kind people know how it goes.

                      I keep wondering how it came to be there more or less where the adult plant was. Either some root went out of the bottom of the pot and into the ground or could a gooseberry have fallen off the plant and into the crack between the slabs. Could this plant have grow that way from seed?
                      I always think soft fruits like this and tomatoes plants can't grow from these seeds which is why people take cuttings.

                      Best to all - Stay safe - Graham
                       
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                      • Mike Allen

                        Mike Allen Total Gardener

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                        Fruits are eaten by birds. Birds tend to poop whilst in flight. Poop from whatever source contains manty elements relating to the poopers condition and to what has recently been digested.
                        Basic lesson in zoological biology. Fruits being a large part of a birds diet. The ripened outer portion provide nourishment. Even for us humans, the internal portion consisting of seeds. Seeds in most cases do not break down in the digestive system, so these are expelled via the poop. Under normal everyday conditions, seeds end up on the ground, and usually manage by the workings of the natural world, find some kind of soil, compost or suitable growing medium. The following is self explanatory. Lift the paving slab. tease out the tiny plant, and pot up. Simples. Er, don't foget to replace the slab. Enjoy your gardening.
                         
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                        • ThePlantAssassin

                          ThePlantAssassin Gardener

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                          @Graham_Bexter
                          According to the Homebase website they are considered an essential retailer and will remain open.....Im not sure if thats correct.
                          In Sussex John Innes of any number has been unavailable sine March :-(

                          I think I remebmer BoJo saying Garden Centres were staying open this time????
                           
                        • Logan

                          Logan Total Gardener

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                          It's best to take cuttings around now just put them in a pot and it will root in the spring, not all of them will root.
                          I've got a BlackBerry plant in a pot and the roots came out the bottom and grew through the slabs just like your gooseberry.

                          Vine weevils like plants in pots so I'd plant it in the ground if you can.
                           
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                          • Green Knees

                            Green Knees Gardener

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                            Hi
                            Isn't it the wrong time of year for cuttings as gooseberries are deciduous plants and loose their leaves over winter?

                            I'd want to be extra special careful given the owners back story as he's beenvgiven a second chance he didn't think he'd get.

                            I don't know what is best as you could write what I know about plants on the back of a postage stamp.

                            But I'd be worried about any new cuttings as they'll have lost leaves or be losing them all pretty soon.

                            Should he not wait til spring? Just being the Devils Advocate.
                             
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