Maqui berry

Aristotelia chilensis

Available now free to a good home (minimum 3…they are either male or female, you need both for fruit and 3 is better than 2!)

6 month old seedlings 40-50cm.  A native plant of the Valdivian temperate rainforests in South America. Edible fruit are small purple-black berries. Fast growing for us, reaching 170cm in the second year. These beautiful evergreen trees are dioecious: both a male and female tree are needed for fruiting. Best to plant a grove or hedgerow of three or more to increase the chances of pollination. Most suited to a sunny/dappled forest edge system with protection from cold winds.


Late summer / early autumn


Left to right: Egremont russet, Liberty, Tydeman’s late orange, Belle de Boskoop. Habitate heritage fruits nursery ( have just released their 2016 catalogue, be in quick to order these varieties plus many more, all suited to our southern climate.


‘Liberty’ apple


‘Merton russet’ apple espalier


Lettuce, Egyptian walking onions and oregano


‘Blackboy’ peach and blackcurrants


Home base for chickens: under a large Hoheria tree that provides wind and rain shelter, shade, leaf litter; an open air covered roost (obscured right); constant access to deep litter/compost piles; bucket and tray for dry foods; water tray (left) raised on block to limit scratched in debris; additional evergreen shrub shelter foreground right (Elaeagnus x ebbingei). All positioned mid-garden to allow multiple easily fenced rotations.


Double grafted pear: ‘Conference’ right, Wanaka pear (Winter Nellis?) left


Fast growing grove of Aristotelia chilensis (Maqui berry)


‘Albany surprise’ grape


Purple sprouting broccoli, curly kale and a newly planted border of Welsh bunching onions and chicory


Aristotelia chilensis (Maqui berry) seedlings


Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry)


Early summer

Bergamot, fava (tic) beans, Liberty apple

Bergamot, fava beans (tic), Liberty apple

Gevuina avellana nut seedlings

Gevuina avellana nut tree seedlings

Asparagus 'Sweet purple'

Asparagus ‘Sweet purple’

Asparagus seeding

Asparagus seeding


‘Moorpark’ apricot, lemon balm

Front entrance. Poroporo, Marion berry, 'Discovery' apple

Front entrance. Poroporo, Marion berry, ‘Discovery’ apple

Lemon verbena, Elaeagnus, burdock

Lemon verbena, Elaeagnus, burdock

Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle) nut seedlings

Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle) nut tree seedlings

Aristotelia chilensis (Maqui berry) seedlings.

Aristotelia chilensis (Maqui berry) seedlings.


Red clover and redcurrant underneath apricot tree


Peas drying out after climbing a young Hoheria.

Peas drying out after climbing a young Hoheria.

'Tydeman's late orange' apple

‘Tydeman’s late orange’ apple

Gaultheria shallon (salal berry) seedings

Gaultheria shallon (salal berry) seedings

Elaeagnus, burdock

Elaeagnus, burdock, Hoheria

Tydeman's late orange' apple

Tydeman’s late orange’ apple


‘William’s bon Cretian’ pear


This trellis for blackberry and boysenberry doubles as a chicken fence extension and wind screen


Barley cover crop for future feijoa mulch


Grapes almost bridging over front entrance


‘Liberty’ apple with white clover and herb groundcover


Tamarillo coming up quickly beneath Poroporo (fruit, mulch and potential frost protection for Tamarillo), Haskap berries and pear

Final fruits, roots and chicken patterns


Jerusalem artichokes from one plant plus today’s feijoa harvest. 5 x 5 year old Tagan I and II trees have let fly about 40 kg of fruit so far this season, with about the same again still on the trees. A week or so prior to them falling, I fenced the chickens underneath them to clear up the ground so the fallen (ripe) fruit is easy to spot. Although the chickens ignored the first to ones to fall, I moved them on to greener ground just in case they got a taste. I imagine a week or so on the ground and when the fruit start to get a few insects, they’d get gobbled. After the feijoas, late apples and a few blackberries, we are done with fresh fruit from the garden for six months. Some lives on frozen, dried and fermented, but without a huge surplus we just use the intervening months to get excited about next season.


The garden wasn’t originally created with chickens in mind. With more recent plantings, however, I have considered how chicken activity and netting patterns can influence the design. For example, placing berries with a similar ripening time in short rows works well – keep chooks out during fruiting (if they can reach it), and back in at other times periodically to forage/scavenge. Short rows with gaps allows flexibility for the netting to turn corners. This pattern of rows/hedgerows works especially well with rows laid out following contour lines/swales. This allows maximum water infiltration and flat, erosion free pathways/livestock cells. It also allows you to easily concentrate chickens and other animals in narrow bands among your plantings to aid in establishment and maintenance.


Chooks beneath gooseberries enjoying mostly white clover, chickweed and comfrey.


Foraging beneath blackcurrants.


Asparagus in front of feijoas.


Late April Blackboy peaches. Freestone, peach leaf curl resistant, delicious.


Autumn raspberries, tree medic and young tamarillo immediately after chickens. These perennials remain intact (with the aid of two bricks over the young tamarillo’s roots) and the scratched ground provides an opportunity to re-sow another ground cover mix, in this case miners’ lettuce. The tree medic is an experiment: to grow with the tamarillo to provide dappled protection from frost and occasional wet Dunedin snow. See Autumn 2013 for more on this.


Hardy kiwi vine in the foreground. Cape gooseberry supporting itself on a poroporo behind. I am always on the lookout for plants that work well in combination with each other. We tend to miss a lot of cape gooseberries that get lost on the ground (or I am too lazy to go find them). In this happy accident, the poroporo provides something sturdy for the gooseberry to scramble up (not climbing) off the ground. Both have edible fruits. I’ll see how this duo progresses. On a larger scale in particular, plants that double as trellis can be really helpful, saving on built infrastructure costs whilst potentially being a crop in themselves.


Two young persimmon trees at the top of the garden. One ‘Matsumoto’ fuyu, the other hopefully to be grafted with wood from a botanical garden tree with reportedly delicious fruit.


Fan-trained peach from above.


Lower garden from above.