Berried treasure in the
trees and shrubs come into their own in autumn, creating
colourful displays that last well into winter. From
elderberries to rose hips, crab apples to firethorns, the
addition of “berrying” plants adds a new dimension to any
garden, with plants carrying fruits and berries through
autumn and into winter. Berry-producing plants also provide
home grown food for hungry birds and wildlife too, enhancing
their appeal and value to the garden.
Evergreen shrubs provide structure and form to the garden
throughout the year, but many produce early displays of
flowers followed by autumn berries. One of the best compact
shrubs for borders or patio pots is a Skimmia with a
mouthful of a name, Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana.
Don’t let this put you off as its displays of bright red
berries are second to none!
Also check out the compact and spreading Viburnum davidii, a
hardy shrub with distinctly veined evergreen foliage that
produces the most unusual metallic-looking blue-black
berries. It really is quite a talking point.
To create seasonal pots for autumn colour include a small
Gaultheria mucronata carrying brilliant berries in pink, red
or pure white. Combined with pansies and violas, trailing
ivy, heather, carex or skimmia your pots will put on a
display that lasts for months.
Trained against walls and fences, firethorn is a valuable
evergreen shrub. Its thorny stems make it a great choice for
producing secure garden boundaries, but don’t let the spines
put you off buying Pyracantha. They provide valuable nesting
sites for birds, flowers that attract bees, and red, orange
or yellow berries to feed birds into winter.
With such a rich and diverse range of plants to choose from
it really is possible to fill your borders with berried
treasure this autumn!
SHRUBS WITH COLOURFUL FRUITS AND BERRIES
Firethorn – (Pyracantha varieties)
Skimmia – Many female varieties produce wonderful displays
of berries including Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana,
Skimmia japonica ‘Nymans’ and ‘Obsession’. Male varieties
are equally appealing with great flower displays, like
‘Magic Marlot’ and ‘Rubella’.
Cotoneaster – wide range of berrying shrubs including
Cotoneaster horizontalis, Cotoneaster ‘Coral Beauty’, C. ‘Cornubia’,
C. lacteus, and many others.
TOP TIPS FOR PLANNING AND PLANTING
Many shrubs can be given a permanent home in large patio
pots. Plant pots using a free-draining loam-based compost.
Always stand pots on feet during winter to prevent drainage
holes getting blocked and pots filling-up with water,
literally drowning their roots!
Small berry-bearing shrubs included in seasonal patio pot
arrangements can be removed and planted out in the garden
Some plants have both male and female varieties, so it might
just be the female one you buy that’s carrying berries. Ask
for advice, as in future years you may need to grow male
forms alongside the females to ensure their flowers get
pollinated and develop future crops of berries.
As well as choosing planting partners carrying berries try
and create varied displays by including evergreen shrubs,
ornamental grasses, architectural plants with strong shapes
and forms, and those with great autumn foliage colours. Here
are some to consider:
Beauty Berry (Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ and many others)
Heathers (Including Calluna varieties)
Holly (Ilex varieties)
Roses with colourful hips, like Rosa rugosa, Rosa canina and
Skimmia ‘Magic Marlot’
Spindle (varieties of Euonymus like ‘Red Cascade’)
Viburnum including Viburnum davidii and varieties of Guelder
Rose (Viburnum opulus)
Perfect for pollinators
our wild bees and other important pollinators considered to
be in decline, the Royal Horticultural Society has launched
the "Perfect for Pollinators" campaign to help promote that
by planting nectar and pollen rich flowers over a long
season, gardeners can help to reduce this trend. The list
is comprehensive and we are extending use of the distinctive
logo from our herbaceous perennials through to our range of
shrubs and trees throughout the Nursery, to make it easier
to identify those varieties that offer the most benefit to
bees and other insects when selecting new plants.
The Nurseries’ staff can offer further advice and copies of
the perfect for pollinators plant list can be downloaded
list - garden plants
list - wildflowers