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SEEKING AUTUMN BERRIES
What a shock this weekend has been – snow showers and frost. Just as we were beginning to think the hardy annuals and perennials would last forever. With the help of a very good friend I had done a major rearrangement of my small garden a couple of weeks ago. Plants that had proved to be taller than expected, probably due to all the earlier rain, have now been moved to the back and the smaller plants that were outgrowing their given space have been spread out and a few new ones fitted in.
Despite having planted some evergreen shrubs which includes two different varieties of that reliable old favourite, euonymus, I have realised I will have a lack of winter colour. Looking round in my neighbours’ gardens I have noticed a wide selection of autumn and winter berried plants thriving. My next trip to the garden centre will be to find out any that will be suitable for my little patch or any that will be happy to grow in a pot.
A good start will be check out any roses that produce hips (another name for a berry). Lots do but some are definitely more spectacular than others. As a general rule the species roses do a better job than the hybrid varieties so it pays to do a bit of research before buying. If you are looking for a good flowering hedge check out the hedgehog rose (R.rugosa) which has masses of fragrant deep pink flowers followed by an abundant display of hips.
On the plus side, by planting some trees and shrubs that produce berries we not only get welcome colour into our gardens these plants are a major winter food source for birds. I find it a never-ending pleasure to watch the birds enjoying the riches provided so intend to seek out plants with this in mind.
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