The question is, Will I get any fruit? I got a handful last year. Literally.
What are they? Dotberries. From the Elaeagnus umbellata family, they're sold by Lubera as Pointilla. Last year they very nicely sent me two: Pointilla Sweet and Sour, tasting as described and a cheery red, and Pointilla Fortunella, golden and, I think, less tangy than the former. I can't say for sure, as only Sweet and Sour proffered a harvest. Still, it was only their first year.
Even without fruit, these have merit. Pointillas are delicate-looking, airy creatures. The leaves have a simple shape but are silvery underneath. When they turn in the breeze they reward you with a lovely silver flash that quite animates the flower bed. Don't grow them for the flowers, though; they're tiny.
But what of the fruit? Well, I feared it was my fault, last year's paucity of harvest. I've planted them on opposite sides of the garden, about 20 feet apart, and you need two, as they're not self-fertile. Were they too far apart? At the Garden Press Event in February, Lubera's Daniel Labhart reassured me that they should be fine.
I also feared they were in incompatible micro-climates. You'd think I'd have noticed before, but the Pointillas have writ large the difference in the two sides of the garden. Fortunella stands against a west-facing fence and receives quite a degree of winter sun, when it's available (which, of course, it was this year). It started blooming in late January. Sweet and Sour, at the same latitude but against the east-facing fence, gets sun in the morning in winter, but loses it as the sun moves behind next door's roof before midday. That has only just started flowering. Honestly. The first flowers appeared in the middle of April.
Still, when I expressed concern at Fortunella's early appearance, Daniel was unconcerned. I think he was right. Fortunella does still carry flowers, so perhaps all is not lost.
I suspect that dotberries tend to assume an innocent air of fruitlessness. Mandy Watson of blog Mandy Can You Dig It was pleasantly surprised by a dotberry harvest after she'd thought all the flowers had dropped off. So, I'm hoping for more this year and I'll fill you in on what happens. The few I had were pleasantly tangy, which promises a great jam. Lubera also recommend drying them (probably in the oven, rather than the sun, as they ripen around October) to eat as snacks, or making a fruit leather. I'm looking forward to just cooking them to have with icecream. Apparently they have more lycopene than tomatoes, so I foresee their day in the sun as a superfruit.
Are you growing Pointillas? If you are or have tried the fruit, do comment below to let us know what you think.