As the nights are drawing in and the leaves being to turn, this season of mellow mists and fruitfulness gives a blast of autumnal colour in the form of shrubs loaded with berry colour. Here are a few that I think are worthy of a space, somewhere to catch the sunny spells and a good evergreen backing shrub can intensify their berry drama.
The Main Stays: Cotonester ‘Cornubia’ (wateri group), A handsome large shrub with arching habit and evergreen foliage. Making it a good inform hedge. White flower cluster sit up-right on the branches in mid summer and by the end of September beginning of October the bunches of red/orange fruit are forming and will be held on through most of the winter until eaten by the birds. Will grow on most soils including shallow chalk but not water logged ground.
Pyracantha rogersiana ‘Flava’, A vigorous wall shrub or grown as a good ‘vandal’ proof hedge with it’s thorny spines. Small evergreen glossy leaves. Clusters of sweet scented flowers late spring give way by early autumn to masses of clustered yellow berries, that survive as long as the birds will let them. It makes a striking display. Growing conditions as above.
The More Unusual: Perrnettya ‘Pink Pearl’ A small dense forming evergreen shrub up to 1/1.3m high, small glossy green spine tipped leaves. Small insignificant flowers give way to masses of clustered round ball shaped fruit in a soft pink tint. Acid loving shrub growing in moist humus rich soils sun or part shade.
Hippophae rhamnoides, a striking medium to large evergreen shrub, with dark branches and thin clusters of sliver leaves. The ‘Sea Buckthorn’ can be found as the front line shrub growing next the coast, coping well with exposed sites and sea winds. It has mighty thornes, so makes a good boundary hedge in exposed sites. Its tiny white summer flowers give way to masses of small orange berries that clothe the branches in late summer and early autumn.
The Dame Right Quirky: Leycesteria formosa, a medium sized shrub, with a slightly shaggy habit and fast growing. White flowers in dropping panicles of dark red brats from June to September give way to striking berries a dark blue/black hanging in the red brats. Lasting well into the autumn.
Clerodendrum trichotomum fargesii, an elegant large shrub with upright habit. Grows well on humus rich soil. Fragrant white blush pink star-shaped fragrant flowers. Followed by china-blue berries in crimson pink brats make a stunning statement.
To The Double Blasters: Callicarpa bodinieri giraldii, a good well sized medium shrub, with small purple flowers mid-summer followed by clusters of tiny purple berries borne up the branches and lasting well after leaf fall. As the days get colder the leaves turn a pink and purple and along with the berries produce a striking effect.
Euonymus alatus, A medium sized shrub with a spreading habit and corky wings on the branchlets, slow growing in most soils and does well on shallow chalks. The insignificant flowers give way to striking berries, they hang down with outer bright orange capsules with shocking pink inner berry. These unusual berries are set against the stunning brilliant red autumn leaf colour.
So get out there and enjoy the other blast of autumn colour! Now is a good time to note the shrubs with the best berry colour, and add them to your garden planting. If you want help designing a autumn planting boarder, then give me a ring, tel: 01273 470753.