Kitchen Garden

Strawberry heaven

may seem strange to be writing an article about a fruit which is the epitome of the British summer at a time when the days are still short and cold – but a little bit of forward planning now will help ensure that by the time Wimbledon comes round, you too will be able to enjoy bumper crops of sweet strawberries. Strawberries have been cultivated throughout Europe for centuries. They were used in Roman times for their medicinal properties, and were particularly popular in France. Charles V of France reportedly had more than 1200 plants in the royal gardens in the mid 1300s. These were all wild strawberries – three native species had been identified by this time. The first modern strawberry arrived in the 1750s, as a result of hybridising with new strawberry species brought over from Chile and North America.

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