Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Enjoy Berries (And Birds!)

With today being so dreary and dismal with mist and rain all day, I thought we should have some color in today's blog.  All of the woody plants featured here have not only ornamental fruits (among other attributes) but those that ultimately become an important food source for birds as well.  If you are specifically gardening for wildlife, incorporating some of these selections in your landscape might be a consideration.  Make sure you know your plant first in terms of proper selection, placement and care.  For instance, the two winterberry (Ilex verticillata) selections both directly above ('Sparkleberry') and below ('Autumn Glow') can be tricky as they prefer moist, acidic soils and require both a male and female(s) for fruiting (the females).  They can be a challenge to keep happy but healthy females sure add some late season impact and retain fruit color well in to winter.  Some fruits of the plants featured in this blog are targeted immediately by wildlife (not just birds) but other species or varieties might become tastier later in the winter when their nutritious value becomes more vital.  Regardless, ornamental fruits can add impact to the late season and winter landscape and also accomplish "double duty" by keeping our wildlife happy and healthy.  This is just the proverbial "tip of the iceberg" but don't hesitate to do more research on your own and ask questions at your area garden center.

While it was damp and dark today, we did have some activity at the Horticulture Center and out in the gardens.  Pat was in for various projects and went out for some Holiday Lights Show (HLS) between the heavier episodes of cold drizzle.  Dr. Gredler was in for painting and we also saw Maury (errands), Bill O. (helping Larry), Dick P., Marilyn H., Chuck S. (recycling run).  Larry had various projects and I'm chained to my desk and juggling tasks for 2014.  We'll test the HLS later this week to make sure all is well and everything is still in good order.  Below are some other neat woody plants with stellar fruit production and display.

'Winter King' hawthorn (Crataegus viridis
thornless cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis)
hips of the native marsh rose (Rosa palustris) - can colonize!
fruit cluster on the Gold Bullion pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'Bachone')
fruit cluster on gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum trilobum)
arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
Cardinal Candy linden viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum 'Henneke')
serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.) - picked over quickly by the birds!
American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) - nice fall color too!
black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) - nice fall color too!
BAD FRUITS!  Above is the Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) which is being distributed far and wide by birds and becoming a problem in woodland understory areas and other natural areas.  Barberries are tough landscape plants, many of which have beautiful foliage.  Try to select "minimal-fruiting" varieties or consider alternatives to this potentially rampant re-seeder!
BAD FRUITS!  Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) which is having the same impact as the Japanese barberry mentioned above.  While it is a source of food for wildlife, that same wildlife is distributing and spreading this monster in many areas of the United States where it can create monstrous thickets and out-compete native vegetation.

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