Picture Snob

November 10, 2010

A great idea from the Helpful Gardener

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Brighten Up Your Winter Garden With Colorful Berries

Just because the trees are bare and there is snow on the ground doesn't mean that your garden has to become a winter wasteland. A well-planned garden will provide year-round interest and visual treats. Many evergreens and hardy ornamental grasses can be quite stunning in the colder months.

But perhaps nothing can compare to the vibrant color of berries during the winter. Berry palates range from bright red to yellow to pale blue and white, so there is something sure to please your eye. Many berries will also attract a variety of birds to your garden. Here are a few suggestions for hardy berry-bearing beauties that can provide a bit of pizzazz to the drab winter landscape.

American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum)
Berry: Red
Height: 10 to 12 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 3
Partial to Full Sun
Notes: This shrub bears clusters of white flowers in the spring. Some cultivars produce yellow berries. The European Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus) has similar properties.

American Holly (Ilex opaca)
Berry: Red
Height: 20 to 25 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 5
Partial Sun
Notes: This evergreen tree bears small white flowers in the spring. It has many cultivars, such as "Xanthocarpa," which bears golden-yellow berries.

Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum)
Berry: Bluish-Black
Height: 6 to10 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 3
Partial to Full Sun
Notes: This shrub bears clusters of dark berries that are very popular with birds and bears clusters of small white flowers in the spring.

Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
Berry: Dark Purple
Height: 4 to 6 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 4
Partial to Full Sun
Notes: The berries of the "Autumn Magic" cultivar last an especially long time into the winter. Although the Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) bears attractive red berries, it is considered invasive in many areas and should be avoided.

Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
Berry: White
Height: 3 to 5 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 3
Full Shade to Full Sun
Notes: This hardy shrub grows well in shade as well as sun and tolerates almost every soil type.

Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)
Berry: Reddish-Purple
Height: 3 to 5 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 3
Full Shade to Full Sun
Notes: Like Snowberry, this shrub likes shade as well as sun and is very easy to grow. It is also know as Indian Currant.

Cranberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus)
Berry: Red
Height: 1 to 3 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 4
Partial to Full Sun
Notes: Great for ground cover, this shrub bears tiny pink flowers in the spring. Other low-growing cotoneasters include Bearberry Cotoneaster (C. dammeri) and Rockspray Cotoneaster (C. horizontalis).

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Berry: Powdery Periwinkle Blue
Height: 40 to 50 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 3
Full Sun
Notes: The female trees bear these lovely berries (they are actually cones that look like berries) which are very popular with the birds.

Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)
Berry: Pale Blue-Gray
Height: 4 to 10 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 3
Partial to Full Sun
Notes: This shrub is extremely hardy and easy to grow in most conditions. It is also salt tolerant.

Tea Viburnum (Viburnum setigerum)
Berry: Bright Red
Height: 8 to10 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 5
Partial to Full Sun
Notes: This shrub bears clusters of red berries in the fall and clusters of small white flowers in the spring.

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Berry: Red or Yellow
Height: 8 to 10 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 3
Partial to Full Sun
Notes: Birds love these berries, so there is a risk that the berries will all be eaten before the winter is over. If you love having birds in your garden, however, this will do the trick.

Winter King Hawthorne (Crataegus viridis)
Berry: Bright Red
Height: 20 to 30 ft. tall
Hardy to Zone 4
Partial to Full Sun
Notes: This tree bears clusters off white flowers in the spring. The Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) has similar properties to the Winter King.

The above list, of course, is just meant to get you started. There are many more varieties of berry and winter fruit bearing plants. Many roses, for example, will develop colorful rose hips if the faded blooms are not pruned back. Likewise, some flowering plants, such as clematis, produce beautiful seed heads that can add interest to your garden through the winter months.

The important thing is to keep in mind that winter does not have to mean dreary for your garden. With just a little bit of planning berries can bring color and vibrancy to the winter garden and give you (and the birds) something to enjoy during the cold weather months.

At Cranberry plants

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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at November 10, 2010 8:10 AM
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