(*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.
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.