Berries For MMD*-2010 Edition**

(*MMD meaning Mr. McGregor’s Daughter, to get that straight from the get-go)
(**2010 Edition meaning there was a post a couple of years ago in September of 2008 with that title. It can be seen by clicking here-Berries For MMD. This is the updated version.)

Shall we begin?
There has been a conscious effort to provide food, along with habitat and water for the wildlife that might like to visit and dwell in the land of the Fairegarden. Berries are an important part of the diet of many birds and critters. Some berry producers have been purchased and planted. Some have simply shown up, uninvited but welcome, like the ground cherry above. These have been allowed to seed and spread in the front garden, amidst the azaleas, even though we are not sure from whence they came. A comment on this post-Bloom Day/Weed Day July 2009 where the flower and leaf are shown suggested it is Physalis peruviana. My Wildflowers of Tennessee book says it is more likely P. heterophylla.

Elderberries weigh down the branches of Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea’. Some folks might want to make Elderberry wine with the profusion of fruit, but these are grown for our feathered wine connoisseurs.

The black berries of the Aronia melancarpa ‘Viking’ are large and attractive, but cannot be eaten by humans. As the common name Chokeberry implies, they aren’t very tasty. This shrub was recently moved. It had been planted in a bed that was not appropriate for the size it wished to be. We thought, erroneously, that it could be kept smaller with pruning. Better placement, if it can survive being moved during extreme drought should allow it to reach the full potential for which it was bred.

There was severe pruning of the fifty foot hedge of Pyracantha last winter, removing many flowering branches, so the berry crop is more sparse than normal. The cardinals, robins and mockingbirds are fighting over the remaining orange treasures. Next year should see enough for all.

The golden leaf annual Talinum paniculatum ‘Kingwood Gold’ that shows up each year in the gravel paths, never the soil of the garden beds, has delightfully small berries that are much more long lasting than the pink hued blooms.

The native Sourwood tree, Oxydendrom arboreum, was planted for the contrast in fall of the white panicles of berries against crimson red leaves. That vision has yet to be realized for the leaves are eaten each year mercilessly by something, but the white dangling pearls always show up on time and ready to perform.

Swinging Pardancanda/Belamcanda chinensis have populated the shed bed with black berried offspring of various shades of orange, some with freckles, some with a clear complexion. We love them all, as do the birds. A mockingbird was seen recently violently plucking the fruit. The camera was uncooperative in capturing the plundering, however.

The beautiful puce stems of the Pokeberry, Phytolacca americana, compliment the berries both in green and dark purple stage. This is a favorite entree for the birds, as the undigestible bits pass through to germinate here, there and everywhere.

The native dogwoods, Cornus florida, are prolific fruit setters. There are multitudes of volunteer trees, thanks again to the flying seed spreaders.

Rose hips are said to contain vast amounts of vitmin C. We have never tried making tea from them, or anything else, but admire the winter interest they give the garden.

Our favorite berries are the Winterberry hollies, Ilex verticillata ‘Sparkleberry’ and I. ‘Winter Gold’, shown above. The noble male holly, Apollo keeps the four females satisfied, but the two Berry Heavy ladies have yet to produce a berry even though flowers are plentiful. A new escort will have to be arranged, we hear a Southern Gentlemen will do nicely. Sorry Apollo, old chap.


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23 Responses to Berries For MMD*-2010 Edition**

  1. Carol says:

    Love all the berries. They are so pretty in the fall, great food for wildlife, too. One of my favorites is the purple berried beautyberry!

    Good morning to you, Carol, and thanks so much. We planted a beautyberry last year and it perished for some reason. Must try again! πŸ™‚

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have never noticed the berries on a Sourwood Tree. They are very interesing. I can just see the birds fighting over the pyracantha berries. There is a Mocker that comes here every winter and sets up camp over the holly berries in our front garden…until they are gone. Then he goes elsewhere. It is somewhat of a winter ritual to watch him chase away any bird that dares to try to get a morsel. A friend of mine make Elderberry jelly. It is quite yummy. You might like to try it some year when you have plenty of berries to share. Cheers.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for adding to the berries! We first saw the red leaves of the sourwoods with the white berries on one of the many trips to Asheville over the mountain. They were so striking, when we saw a small specimen at Biltmore we grabbed it. Maybe one day there will be that same look to it in fall. The mockingbirds are all over the garden right now. They are loud and somewhat clumsy on the blackberry lilies, the stems can’t hold their weight. Thanks for the tip about Elderberry jelly. That is more likely to be made than wine here. πŸ™‚

  3. Tiziana says:

    Do not tell me, Frances, who have already ripe berries all
    plants in your garden ??!!!
    In my part of the summer does not seem to end, instead
    I see that you’re already in autumn!
    I love the berries in all its forms and in all plants,
    shrubs and roses! everything is beautiful, as always!
    Not that you have the option of exchanging seeds? I am interested in your yellow-flowered Belamcanda πŸ˜‰

    Hi Tyziana, thanks so much. It is turning into fall here very quickly, although it is so dry that the leaves are falling prematurely. The birds love the berries so much, I have planted many shrubs just for that reason. The yellow Belamcandas were moved to another bed, away from the others, but did not produce seeds! The chances of their offspring also being yellow is not good, orange seems to be the dominant genetic color. I figure they will divided to get more plants with yellow flowers, if they return next year.

    • Tiziana says:

      Thanks for the quick response, Frances!
      I too like you have some shrubs that produce berries just because, living on the edge of the woods, my garden is much frequented by birds that eat the berries.
      I’ve just got the orange Belamcanda and I liked you so much variety in yellow. Think of when to produce the seeds or new plants.

      I like to respond quickly if possible, early morning here is best for that. My original seed grown plant was orange. The yellow started showing up, one here, one there, in the seedlings. Maybe that will happen for you too! The US has very strict laws about sending or receiving plants or seeds from abroad, with very stiff fines. πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks for the shout out. I enjoyed your array of berries, such different sizes and colors. My favorite is the pokeberry, which has to be the prettiest weed ever. The berries here at Squirrelhaven are not bountiful this year, and the birds and squirrels have already cleaned all the dogwood and spikenard berries up.

    My pleasure, MMD. I noticed that the old post is getting a lot of views now, searches for fall berries! Thought I would add to the images, although some are the same from last year. If only the new viburnums would berry up! I had to search the dogwoods, hardly any left, or there just weren’t any. The blooms were sparse this year. Plenty ‘o pokeberries, always. πŸ™‚

  5. Layanee says:

    Oh, the berries of fall. Isn’t the pokeberry beautiful? There is a variegated pokeberry available now. Not sure if the berries are up to par.

    Hi Layanee, thanks for visiting. We have so many pokeberries around us, I would never ever plant another, no matter how beautiful the leaves are! HA πŸ™‚

  6. Eileen says:

    Love all those berries Frances. I have a dogwood and a shadblow that the birds have stayed in most of the summer eating the berries.


    Hi Eileen, thanks. The dogwoods are among my most favorite trees. We have some seedlings from the dogwoods at our other TN home growing at this house now that have gotten larger than the house. Hope you can get some baby dogwoods, if the birds allow! πŸ™‚

  7. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, I love p heterophylla…It’s like a little treasure inside its papery case. I also think that pokeweed is the best looking weed! Not many berries, but, it’s a banner year for hickory nuts and acorns. Chicken Little would be screaming all the time. It’s almost unsafe out there and don’t even think of running barefoot to get the mail! Can’t wait for the Cedar Wax Wings to stop by your place~xxgail

    Hi Gail, thanks! I am now able to identify things so much better with the wildflower book you gave me! I remember the falling sky, er nuts, at your place. You need not only shoes but a hardhat out there! The Cedar Waxwings did not appear at all last spring. Maybe we will see them this fall. I hope so. We are still pulling baby American holly trees from their last visit. I did see a female American Redstart this morning by the pond. It was taking a shower in the sprinkler. πŸ™‚

  8. Valerie says:

    Loved your post today Frances with the berries and seedpods. It gives me comfort to know that the birds are well taken care of in your garden.

    Oh Valerie, thank you, what a nice thing to say! We do our best for the birds, beasties and insects. We are lucky, sort of, that there are many vacant lots with mature trees, vines and weedy wildflowers for them as well around my neighborhood. Our small town isn’t much on making property owners clean up brush, etc. unless someone complains, and we aren’t going to complain, that’s for sure. I don’t want anyone complaining about our habitat and brush piles either. πŸ™‚

  9. I saw that ‘Kingwood Gold’ for the first time last year in a garden in Raleigh. I wanted some for my very own, but I don’t think it is hardy here.

    Hi Kathy, it is an annual here too, but reseeds well in the gravel paths only. I transplant them to other spots, but they resent it and don’t grow as large as those left in situ. If you get seeds, throw them in sunny gravel! πŸ™‚

  10. The contrast of colours on that Pokeberry are fantastic!

    Hi Sunny, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you. The pokeberry is a very large, fabulous plant. If it were difficult to grow, people would be clamoring for it. The stems alone are amazing, and it grows like a …. weed. πŸ™‚

  11. Catherine says:

    I keep wanting to add more berries to our garden not only for the birds but for the interest they add. Our Dogwood rarely produces fruit, at least that I can see. It’s always popular with the birds, maybe they see something I don’t. The winterberry is such a pretty color.

    Hi Catherine, thanks, so nice to see you. I have planted a whole group of Viburnums for their berries. Mail ordered, they are still young, but hold lots of promise for the future. I hope to do a whole post about them someday, featuring the berries. The birds scarf down the dogwood berries as soon as they ripen, it is hard to find any to photograph. Maybe that is what happens at your place. That winterberry will turn very orange soon, not really gold even though that is the name. πŸ™‚

  12. Linda says:

    Love them all! They are so pretty !

    Hi Linda, thanks so much, so nice to see you. Glad you liked the berry show. πŸ™‚

  13. debsgarden says:

    You have a delightful assortment of berries that add fall and winter interest and provide nourishment for wildlife. No doubt, without them your garden would be less interesting and less appealing to wildlife.

    Hi Deb, thanks. We have been working on adding the colorful berries for both the wildlife and the garden. Each year there are a few more varieties. I like to offer a broad array. πŸ™‚

  14. Anna says:

    It’s always amazing how berries seem to appear out of nowhere. Here the elderberries are not far from ripening -great fun watching a blackbird breakfast on them this morning. I enjoyed seeing the berries in your garden Frances.

    Hi Anna, thanks, glad you enjoyed them. We don’t pay much attention to the berries until fall into winter, either. Once the leaves drop, they will really pop, especially the winterberries. Your blackbird sounds delightful. πŸ™‚

  15. Ginny says:

    The nandinas and dogwoods are the heaviest berry producers in my garden, but we also have holly and pyracantha. Pokeberry pops up everywhere but we pull it up long before it produces fruit. Maybe I should let a few of them mature! It really is beautiful.

    Hi Ginny, thanks. It sounds like you have a bountiful berry offering for the wildlife as well. The Pokeberry is a monster, but the birds love it. We grow them behind the hedges, that should be they grow themselves, not really part of the garden. It works for us and the wildlife around here. πŸ™‚

  16. Meredehuit says:

    Beautiful berries! I am guessing the birds simply adore your gardens!

    Hi Meredehuit, thanks. We do have a whole lotta birds here, so I assume they like it. I adore having them as residents, too. πŸ™‚

  17. commonweeder says:

    This is a berry beautiful post. I don’t have as many, highbush cranberry, rose hips and a few blueberries just for the birds. I planted a sourwood tree about 4 years ago and while the foliage is brilliant in the fall, it has hardly grown at all, and no berries yet.

    Hi Pat, thanks. It sounds like your birds are well fed! It took a while for the sourwood to get going, then it really took off. Yours might be ready to shoot up soon! πŸ™‚

  18. Rose says:

    Berry entertaining as well as lovely photos, Frances. I’m chuckling over the thought of a new stud being brought into the holly pasture:) You have such a variety of berries, but the one I covet most is the blackberry lily. No luck again this year in getting the seeds to grow, but I’ll try again next year–maybe the third try will be the charm!

    Hi Rose, thanks. I need to get on the stick about finding that new Southern stud, thanks for reminding me. A good sized specimen will work better than a puny mail order. I will have to call around to find one, maybe in Asheville next time we visit there. I am concerned about your lack of luck with the blackberry lilies. Needs some cogitation as to what could be the problem. πŸ™‚

  19. Jake says:

    Berries mean we are heading towards cooler weather and animals need to eat up. Off-topic of this post: How is your Muhly Grass doing? I planted some here at my house in Lexington, KY and it started to send up it’s first shoots 2 weeks ago and now has really started to send them up. From what I can tell the plumes move when it is cooler but when it is warm again they don’t move an inch.


    Hi Jake, thanks for visiting. Looking at my muhly grass, I can see the flower stalks beginning to rise up. What gets them to do so, I have no idea. We usually see the bloom peak mid October, but the color will continue into December when it finally turns to straw color, still quite attractive. I usually cut the whole thing down to just a few inches in January. Good luck with yours! πŸ™‚

  20. Hi Frances, What a beautiful array of berries… lucky birds! πŸ™‚ Those pokeberries are striking, are they not? I know Mr. Shady considers them weeds, but it is fun to encounter them “out there” at all stages of growth! πŸ™‚

    Btw: I have such trouble visiting everyone I want to visit… all the wonderful garden-blogging community. How do you handle this?

    Hi Shady, thanks. Most people consider pokeberry to be a weed, and rightly so! It would take over and become a forest of large leaves with beautiful red stems and dangling white flowers followed by dark purple berries. Sounds sorta nice, doesn’t it? There is a downside, the birds deposit berry leftovers on the patio chairs that can stain that nice pair of white capris! Stain Devil and tide will get it out, but quite annoying! HA As for the visiting, I have not been around the blogdom as much as I would like, not enough hours in the day! Maybe more in winter with less daylight to play outside. πŸ™‚

  21. marmee says:

    hello frances, it’s great seeing all your berries. i love planting edibles for the birds and other wildlife too. hope all is well with you in your corner of the world.
    happy september.

    Hey Marmee! Haallloooo, how are you? Thanks for dropping by! I know your garden is filled with welcome wildlife. We are well and hope the same is true for you and yours, my friend. πŸ™‚

  22. Anthony says:

    lovely pictures…I eat chokeberry all the time – the viking and nero varieties are not that astringent – and the chickens love them anyhow. Its a shame that you pulled them out 😦 Im planting 10 more next spring!!!! My permaculture pics are on the site…great work thanks again!

    Hi Anthony, thanks and welcome. It was not the chokeberry that was pulled, heaven forbid! It was the pokeberry. πŸ™‚

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