The currants and gooseberries that are grown in the fruit garden are species of ribes, but there are also purely ornamental kinds, none more useful in the garden than the flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum.

This quickly makes a big bush up to 8 ft. high, with currant-like leaves and clusters of rose-pink flowers in April. There are several varieties including two with much deeper coloured flowers, King Edward VII, crimson, and Pulborough Scarlet, magenta red. All forms flower on year-old stems and the quality of the flowers can be improved and the bushes reduced in size by cutting out the old stems immediately after flowering. They will grow in all soils, in sun or shade.

Other useful kinds are Ribes odoratum, sometimes wrongly called R. aureum, rather shorter than the flowering currant with richly scented yellow flowers in April and R. speciosum, often called the fuchsia-flowered gooseberry because of the resemblance of its crimson flowers to very small fuchsias. It flowers in April and May, grows about 5 ft. high and, unlike the others, is evergreen, but it is less hardy and should be given a warm sunny place.

Ribes odoratum

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