It has been a pleasant start to October although it has been undeniably cooler at night. A fresh easterly wind brought with it the first noticable ground frost of the year. With a couple more frosts the last few half-hardy annuals will soon give up the ghost. There are other decorations starting to appear just now though, the berries have arrived on a plate just as the birds were starting to get a little peckish into the back end of the year.
Six on Saturday is a weekly garden diary from all over the world. Have a look at some of the other beautiful pictures over at the propagator blog.
1) Viburnum opulus
The flowers on this viburnum, which grows in a large wooden barrel, are rather nondescript and for much of the year it is simply a perch for birds on their way to the bird feeder. At this time of year however, there is a beautiful change to the colour of the foliage with the addition of a good number of iridescent berries that look as shiny as glazed cherries.
2) Sorbus cashmiriana
I love this small rowan which grows in the front garden, a non-imposing fit for a relatively small space. The berries are not entirely white (which I have seen on other specimens and on the closely related sorbus hupahensis) but have a faint pinkish tinge like a gobstopper that has been chewed for a while! Perhaps because of this analogy, the birds are content to leave them completely alone all winter. The last one drops just before the start of spring so it is also acts as a sort of ‘count down’ tree.
3) Malus Toringo ‘Aros’
I am still undecided about this recent acquisition – a dark leaved crab apple. If a child were drawing a picture of a tree they might choose burgundy for the bark, the might possibly even choose burgundy for the leaves, but surely they wouldn’t then choose burgundy for the berries too!? I am hoping that the rather monochrome appearance might come into its own when contrasted with some brighter, possibly lime-green foliage grown as undercover.
4) Malus ‘evereste’
Another crab apple, and a more traditional combination of green leaves and red fruit (although they haven’t yet turned completely red). I think I may have deliberately chosen a specimen on dwarf rootstock so as not to overshadow a shady border at the back of the house. Either that or it is just a slow grower in these conditions. Again the birds seem a little indifferent to the fruit which adds to their longevity.
There can be few shrubs in the garden that offer as much value for wildlife per square foot as this cotoneaster. The flowers are an absolute haven for insect life, the berries are enjoyed by the birds and it casts a nice arching shade over the edge of the pond which forms a shelter, a perch and access for a bird bath. Last year I even found a hedgehog hibernating underneath it.
There are two enormous holly trees that grow at either end of the from of the garden. They were never planted in the garden and grow wild on its fringes. I have thinned the lower branches to raise the canopy and allow passers by to walk underneath. From now until January they will be covered in berries and it doesn’t take much imagination to picture them in the not too distant future, shining all the brighter in the darkness of December with a faint dusting of snow on them.
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