Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 7, Issue 6
   September 2012
 
  Using Berries as Season Extenders
 
Beautyberry
The beautiful lavender berries of the aptly named beautyberry shrub

Ever since I can remember, I have loved all kinds of berries. In my garden, I carried over my affection to include those that are inedible for humans but are an important part of the diets of many feathered or furred creatures. The term berry as used in this article refers to any small fruit. Berries always contain seeds, are usually round or semi-oblong and can be shiny or dull. Many are brightly colored, and most contrast in color with their background. They come in a seemingly endless palette of hues to add color to your garden well beyond the growing season.

  Russian olive tree
  The silvery fruit of the Russian olive tree

White and Silver
While relatively rare, there are a few plants that produce white berries. The most common is the snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.), a vigorous, deciduous shrub known for its pulpy fruit. White berries can also be found on some shrubby dogwoods such as Tartarian dogwood (Cornus alba) and red osier dogwood (C. sericea), the fruits of which are usually tinged with blue. The drooping clusters of large white berries of mountain ash trees such as Kashmir rowan (Sorbus cashmiriana) and white-fruited rowan (S. glabrescens) remain on the trees until softened by the first frost, after which they're gobbled up by waxwings and thrushes. Rare silver berries are produced by some olives (Elaeagnus spp.), with Russian olive (E. angustifolia) being the most common. It has ornamental foliage and abundant scaled, silver-tinged fruit, which cardinals love.

 
 
             
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