Berries, berries, berries

Whereas the summer berries –blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and others – are a treat for our palate, fall and winter berries are a feast for the eyes as well, or even to have fun with. Remember helping your preschooler make an cranberry and popcorn garlands during holiday time? Now that cranberries have started to make appearance on shelves of supermarkets, those precious moments can be relived if one so wishes.   

From a gardener’s perspective, this is the season when brilliantly colored berries adorn trees and shrubs, giving us a glimpse of fall and winter beauty. So significant are berries that many gardeners consider them with same regard as flowers or the color of fall foliage when adding a tree or shrub to the landscape. Berry-laden hollies are truly spectacular in addition to being a haven for our feathered friends in providing them a gourmet meal. Speaking of which, hollies generally bear male and female flowers on separate plants.

Therefore, if growing for the sake of berries, do check the gender of the plants at the time of purchasing.  

Though the deciduous holly I planted last fall hasn’t produced any berries because I didn’t think of planting a male, three other shrubs I recently acquired have made up for the disappointment, surpassing my fondness for berries. Planted in a row, the ornamental berry-bearing shrubs are Red Chokeberry, Snowberry, and the Beautyberry; the colors of the berries are red, white and purple.  

Another time-tested shrub that never fails to delight us at this time of the year is Nandina, also known as the heavenly bamboo; equipped with two much sought-after assets – rich burgundy foliage and bunches of bright red berries – nandinas are one of the most carefree yet versatile evergreen shrubs for any landscape. In fact, we are blessed with several healthy nandinas in one of the front beds, branches of which find their way in all kind of places inside our home during the holiday season.

Adored not only by nature lovers, wreath makers and flower arrangers are always on the lookout for greenery that bears berries, to add a festive touch to their creations thereby bringing the magic of winter indoors.

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