The jewel-like fruits of Alpine strawberries (Fragaria Vesca Sempervirens)
are a special delicacy you can enjoy every summer. To me their flavor combines
the essence of strawberries, roses and pineapples. Also known by their romantic
French name, Fraises des Bois, these charming and well-behaved perennial plants
yield continuous harvests of tiny, 3/4 inch berries with an intensely
concentrated flavor I can only describe as truly ambrosial.
In France, Alpine strawberries are carefully hand harvested and sold as a sought
after seasonal specialty to top perfect individual custard tarts at Paris
patisseries. In fine restaurants, they are served in exquisite stemware topped
with creme fraiche and candied violets.
Alpine strawberries are
cultivated strains of wild or woodland strawberries and are reported to have
been transplanted into domestic gardens as early as the 12th century - which is
easy to understand as their aroma and flavor are unmatched as garden berries.
Our cultivar is of French origin, and the improved Alpines we grow today were
first introduced in Paris over 100 years ago.
Alpine Strawberries "Mignonette"
To view our complete online seed catalog:
Plump Little Success Story"
"Petite and Sweet Alpine Strawberries"
Alpines can grow in full sun, although in very hot weather areas, they will also
thrive in half day sun or an area of dappled shade. Like other berries, they
love a rich, fertile, and above all, well drained soil. Alpines need little
special care beyond consistent moisture and occasional feeding. Mulching the
plants to tuck them in and keep roots moist is a good strategy unless snails or
slugs are a menace in your garden.
These hardy, evergreen plants are carefree because, unlike regular strawberries,
they do not self propagate by sending out runners. They'll stay wherever you
plant them gradually growing into soft leafy mounds about a foot in diameter and
height. After several seasons, mature plant crowns will multiply and can be
divided in early spring to double or triple your number of plants. Plants bear
fruit the first season after sowing. Feed and water regularly and plants will
continue to fruit for 2 to 4 years.
Properly located, plants will bear a continual summer long crop of deep crimson
pointed petite berries full of flavor and fragrance. Pick and enjoy these
delightful petite perfumed berries when they turn a deep red and give slightly
to the touch.
Alpine plants with their green, serrated little leaves, white flowers and bright
red delectable, berries are neat, attractive and very ornamental. The plants are
perfect in windowboxes or hanging baskets, or as a handsome edging plants along
a garden path or flower border and are equally at home as rock garden plants, in
window boxes, patio containers, or in cascading from strawberry pots.
Seven or eight mature little Alpine plants will yield about a cup of berries
several times a week on a continuous basis throughout the summer. They are even
more special just because the harvest is sparing, so I share them only with
those who appreciate them as much as I do. Pick and enjoy these delightful
petite perfumed berries when they turn a deep red and give slightly to the
It is difficult to resist eating all of the these tempting morsels right from the
plants so chances are not many ever make it into the kitchen! For special
occasions, serve them in feather light desert crepes or use them to top freshly
made Belgian waffles. If you have enough, I have found that these sweet gems
make heavenly little pots of glowing jam. The fruits have more pectin than
regular strawberries, so making the jam is easy and quick.
Still, my favorite way to enjoy Alpines' elusive and richly seductive flavor is
to eat them fresh from the garden. Sprinkle a handful over your morning cereal
or nestle the ruby colored berries on tiny tarts or cakes served in glass goblet
with a sinful dollop of real whipped cream -- a truly splendid indulgence.