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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      • Jymi riddler

        Jymi riddler 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.
             
          • Green Knees

            Green Knees Apprentice 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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