It’s getting to the time of year when berries abound on plants both wild and cultivated. This is when they can be enjoyed in the ornamental garden and hedgerow – visually, at least. A few weeks further on and a cold snap will see them stripped off by hungry birds, but just now, as the season turns and the leaves begin to do likewise, the jewel like clusters still adorn the branches.
A native hedgerow can be a real treasure in a country garden if you have the space, and many of the plants have health benefits. Rose hips, for instance, are a valuable source of Vitamin C, and the berries of our native Elder have immune boosting properties - a tincture can be used to treat colds and flu. Be careful though, as not all native berries are suitable for human consumption, so make sure you know what you’re about before you try them as remedies.
Some of the most beautiful berries are produced on garden shrubs that are widely available, so if you’d like to add a little extra autumn interest to your borders, here are a few to choose from:
Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ – unusual clusters of violet purple berries make an eye catching autumn sight on this medium sized deciduous shrub.
Pyracantha ‘Saphyr Rouge’ – a red berried pyracantha which is supposed to be canker-resistant. Glossy evergreen leaves keep it looking good all year round and the berries are favourites with blackbirds.
Euonymus ‘Red Cascade’ – related to our native Euonymus europaeus but more showy, a deciduous shrub with fabulous autumn colour and masses of quirky little pink berries which split open to reveal bright orange centres.
Viburnum davidii – a small to medium evergreen that’s great for structure, with attractive but tough leaves and deep inky blue berries
Sambcus Nigra ‘Black Lace’ – a personal favourite of mine. Finely divided leaves of deep maroon – purple, clusters of pretty light pink flowers in spring are followed in autumn by dark purple bunches of berries, unfussy and easy to grow.
The bright red berries of Viburnum opulus, the guelder rose.
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