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Winter Berries 2

Winter Berries Autumn Colour 2

The array of colour variants is amazing, within the world of berrying and fruiting plants.

Birds seem to home in on berries in a colour order, starting with red, moving to orange, then on to yellow and white, finally on to odd colours like black, blue and purple.

As berries are part of the plant reproductive cycle then, there are hundreds and hundreds of shrubs, trees and herbaceous and other plants that berry as a result.

Remember most berries are poisonous to humans.

I was hoping to do my usual top five in the berrying stakes, starting with red. (Share with us) Register for FREE if you are not already a member and click HERE to create a NEWTOPIC to tell us about your successes and failures with growing berries?

Ilex verticilliata Christmas Cheer is a deciduous Holly which comes into its own when it has lost its leaves.  It ends of the branches become smothered in red berries in late autumn.  Best planted in groups of four or five a neutral to acid ground.  This Holly loves to be planted in semi-shade.

Ruscus aculeatus is also known as Butchers Broom and be careful of the spikes on the end of leaves.  This is a dwarf evergreen shrub loving dry shade.  The red berries form on hinges in the middle of each leaf.  Most unusual and there are other varieties of Ruscus such as Ruscus hypoglossom which has bigger leaves and bigger berries.

Viburnum opulus or the Gelder Rose has flat white flowers and wonderful clusters of red berries to the point that lots of people may think it was a redcurrant bush.  Sun and Shade, chalky or acidic, it's really will thrive in all these conditions.  There is a Viburnum opulus Sterile which has massive rounded white flowers in spring but no berries in the autumn.  I have seen people plant one of each in the same hole and let them grow together to present a more exciting show during the year.

Berberis thunbergii is a deciduous Barberry that, if left alone, becomes quite arching in habit and looks fantastic when it's berries along the arching stems.

Skimmia japonica Foremanii has wonderful clusters of red berries that interestingly enough the birds don't seem to go for very much.  Skimmia loves semishade and best on slightly acidic soil.  The female forms of Skimmia require pollination from male varieties such as Skimmia japonica Rubella.

Orange berries and here's my top five in no particular order

Pyracantha Orange Glow, as I am always impressed by the number of berries that it manages to produce every autumn.  Remember that Pyracantha is technically a Rose and therefore needs to be planted where you haven't already got mature rosaceous subjects.

Hippophae rhamnoides is this large silver leaved spiky shrub that is excellent in exposed gardens around clifftops.  In the autumn it is smothered in amazing orange berries.  This one is very happy on quite impoverished ground.

Danae racemosa makes four to 5 foot in a woodland environment where it gets filtered light and a leaf mould at its roots.  This fantastic orange red berry on sought-after leaves for people who enjoy flower arranging.  It's synonym is Ruscus racemosa so it enjoys a similar position to the other Danae mentioned in the red berry section above.

Berberis wilsoniae has ever changing leaves and loses most in the winter but at the same time offers wonderful orangy-red fruits in the autumn.  It is capable of five or 6 feet and enjoys a fairly sunny position.

Iris foetidissima is an evergreen form which is mostly grown for its amazing orange seeds in the autumn.  Beware that these seeds are quite smelly when crushed.

How about some yellow berries, it goes with my top five in no particular order

Ilex bacciflava makes a wonderful focal point for the shade.  Dark glossy leaves and wonderful yellow berries that stand out from a distance.  Hollies of this ilk may take a few years to start berrying and they require a pollinator within the vicinity.

Cotoneaster exburiensis is one of my favourite larger shrubs.  It offers wonderful creamy yellow berries in the autumn.  This is very versatile and will grow 10 foot or more in the Sun and Shade.  Be aware that it is a member of the Rose Family and therefore it needs to be planted away from other established rosaceous plants.  This cotoneaster can be trained against a wall or fence or looks wonderful if tied in, around a post.

Pyracantha Soleil D`or has clusters of yellow berries in the autumn and just remember this one comes with spikes so handle the plant with care.  It makes an excellent security plant and again remember this is also a member of the Rose Family.

Sorbus Josephs Rock is one of the most outstanding forms of Mountain Ash with an amazing autumn colours, compact in habit and has wonderful yellow fruits in autumn.  Again this is also a member of the rosaceous family and it requires careful thought, when introducing this beautiful tree, into your garden.

Malus xzumi Golden Hornet is one of the ornamental crab apples with fantastic yellow fruits.  This is also a member of the rosaceous family and therefore be careful when planting that you position it away form the root systems of other rosaceous plants.

The rosaceous world is large and I feel I need to do an article that covers rosaceous members more thoroughly
White berries are marvellous to see and I gladly impart my top five favourite plants in no particular order.

Gaultheria mucronata Alba has a synonym of Pernettya mucronata Alba and should be planted in acidic soil in dappled light.  This wonderful woodland floor plant needs a pollinator such as Gaultheria mascula, if you want the white marble like fruits.  By introducing Gaultheria mascula you can add other Gaultheria mucronata types, allowing other berry colours into the vicinity.

Skimmia japonica Fructo-Albo needs to be positioned in the shade in neutral to acid soil and requires a male form to be planted nearby, for pollination.  Glossy evergreen foliage with large shiny white fruit makes this compact shrub a real eye catcher from a distance.

Sorbus cashmiriana is a white fruiting Mountain Ash, compact in habit and therefore suitable for small areas.  It has clusters of white fruits in the autumn and fine leaves during the summer.  Remember the Sorbus is technically rosaceous and therefore be careful where you position it in regards to established rosaceous plants around it.

Cornus alba Sibirica, coming from Siberia this one is tough for exposure.  During the winter the stems go absolutely red and on it hang clusters of white fruit.  All alba types of Cornus can be cut back very hard in February so that by the following winter the stems are only one season old and being newer wood, it will colour up much better.

Symphoricarpus orbiculartis Alba is a member of the Honeysuckle family, also known as Snowberry.  This one can be quite invasive with its roots and it's wonderful if planted on a bank where you need to retain the soil.  It's not a plant I would introduce to an intricate planting scheme due to its invasive nature.  The white fruits really stand out over the winter and it certainly makes a wonderful wildlife plant.

Black fruits, again in no particular order, here are my top five

Prunus laurocerasus Otto Luyken is in my opinion one of the best Laurels with its naturally circular habit, evergreen and having a candlelight display of white flowers in the spring and lots of black fruits in the autumn.  Beware the plant is poisonous.  This plant is related to a Rose so do be careful, when planting, to position this plant well away from fruit trees etc.

Prunus luscitanica also known as Portuguese Laurel which is also related to Roses and is a wonderful evergreen.  This has white flowers in the spring and black fruits in the autumn.  This Portuguese Laurel is classed as a large shrub or small tree ideally catching some sun during the day.  Good drainage is essential.

Hedera or Ivies in variety, often display wonderful prominent clusters of black fruits in the autumn.  Ivy needs to become mature or arborescent in order to be mature enough to produce flowers and fruit.  This can take 10 years or even 15 years to do.

Lonicera henryi is an orange flowered Honeysuckle, holding most of its leaves in the winter and producing black fruit in the autumn.  As with many honeysuckles, this is one for part shade.

Leycesteria formosa is also known as Japanese honeysuckle and has wonderful white flowers with a red protective outer layer that hang down in racemes and these developed into a black fruits in the autumn.  You can position its plant in Sun and Shade and is capable of five or 6 feet, with a naturally arching habit.

Blue fruiting plants, here's my top five in no particular order

Viburnum davidii is a wonderful naturally circular shrub achieving four feet in the middle in height and a six-foot spread.  Plant these in three or more, unless you are able to get male and female selected forms.  This evergreen enjoys Sun and part shade and enjoy the white flowers in May and the clusters of blue fruits in the autumn.

Cornus alba has wonderful red stems in the winter and proffers white flowers in late spring and white and blue fruits in the autumn.  Plant this type of Dogwood in a very exposed position if possible.

Berberis darwinii is a valuable evergreen for Sun and Shade with wonderful orange flowers in the spring and blue fruits in the autumn.  This shrub is spiky and capable of four or 5 feet in 10 years.

Dianella tasmanica which is related to the Phormium and has fantastic evergreen swordlike foliage.  Colder regions would need to bring this in during the winter.

Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens looks like a black grass but in fact it is a bulb with evergreen almost black foliage, with white flowers and blue black fruits in spikes in the autumn.  They must be planted where you can really get the contrast between the foliage and maybe, a decorative gravel.

Purple fruits seem to be a little more unusual and probably the most impressive of the purple fruiting shrubs is a plant called Callicarpa and to get the best result you need to plant several together.

Another purple -- black berry is seen on the myrtle trees or Myrtus.  These are trees that require shelter and Sun and thrive on poor soil.  Protect these evergreens in cold regions of the country.

I hope this article gives you inspiration to look further than just its flowers or shape to get a whole new spectrum of interest for the autumn and winter garden... (Share with us) Register for FREE if you are not already a member and click HERE to create a NEWTOPIC to tell us about your successes and failures with growing berries?

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Tuesday, 18 November 2008 18:43
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 January 2009 12:21 )

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