It’s the berries

I managed to commandeer one tall grandchild to help with lighting up the tree and I must say it looks great. When we went outside to peer into the house everything looked warm and glowing. ?But that was yesterday and today all looks miserable in a slushy rain.??Everything, that is, except the berries. ??

The usefulness of plants with brilliant coloured berries shows up in this darkest time of year. ?My favourite and the best performer of the moment is the beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, ?which has turquoise berries making a vivid line along the branches. ??

Vying for attention are the cobalt blue berries of variegated porcelain vine, Ampelopsis brevipedunculata ‘Elegans’, a vine which leaves me with mixed emotions. Love those berries, but it will seed about and in some areas it’s considered a complete pest.?’Elegans’, however, ?has?white and pink shocks of colour on the leaves which I like a lot. I leave lots of room for it to ramp around.?

The big disappointment has been Ilex ‘Sparkleberry’. I see this deciduous holly covered with brilliant red berries everywhere else but my garden. Either the soil is too crappy or it’s not in enough sun, but it’s just sitting there with six pathetic little beads on it looking like a mistake.?

Next year I’m going to choose more shrubs for berries. Watching birds whizzing around all over the place even risking the vicious thorns of the barberries (Berberis thungergii) for their bright berries makes for seriously cheerful viewing. ?Much needed on these dark days.