Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Berry Beautiful in Winter; HOLLY MEANS CHRISTMAS - BUT LOTS OF OTHER SHRUBS AND TREES ALSO OFFER SEASONAL COLOUR

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Berry Beautiful in Winter; HOLLY MEANS CHRISTMAS - BUT LOTS OF OTHER SHRUBS AND TREES ALSO OFFER SEASONAL COLOUR

Article excerpt

Byline: YOUR GARDEN With Diarmuid Gavin

WINTER berries are an extraordinary gift which delight both us and many types of other creatures which rely on them. We are now approaching the shortest day of the year, enduring the occasional Arctic blast, and our gardens often look shrivelled in the gloom.

Summer bedding is but a dream, our perennials have retreated, many trees are nude and lawns are damp and vulnerable to damage.

But hope springs through with a wonderful range of winter berries dotted throughout some trees and shrubs.

Berries ensure the survival of some species through the seeds they contain, which may go on to be germinated and become new, young plants. They also provide food and energy for hungry garden birds; and of course berries can be brought indoors for decoration in the festive season and act as an indoor reminder of the wonders of the natural world outside.

Holly and its vivid red berries are synonymous with Christmas. In Christian symbolism, the prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns, the berries the blood of Jesus. At the moment, holly bushes are laden with their crop which some believe indicates a harsh winter ahead.

However, good fruit crops are the result of good past weather, not prophetic signs of the future.

Pyracantha bushes are also ablaze with intense displays of orange and red fruit.

But look further afield and there are shrubs and trees producing berries ranging from white and yellow through to blue, purple and violet.

The snowberry, Symphoricarpos, was once widely planted in Victorian and Edwardian times in shrubberies and as game cover, but is no longer popular, possibly due to its vigorous suckering and spreading habit.

However, the plump white fruit is a gift to the birds at the moment and looks pretty in the hedgerows. …

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