Fruits Of Au­tumn

Hu­mans and birds alike en­joy the fruits of the sea­son. John Stoa looks at what is avail­able for sea­sonal colour.

The People's Friend Special - - CONTENTS -

John Stoa en­joys the bounty of the sea­son

ALONG­SIDE the bril­liant leaf colours of au­tumn come berries, fruit and hips which can more than hold their own. When I was se­lect­ing suit­able ap­ple trees for my gar­den in Dundee I de­cided that they had to be bright red as well as hav­ing ex­cel­lent eat­ing and stor­ing qual­i­ties.

Dis­cov­ery is my early, Red Devil my main sea­son and Fi­esta and Red Fal­staff my late ap­ples which all pro­vide a fan­tas­tic dis­play of bold colour.

It used to be be­lieved that Scot­tish rowan trees were nec­es­sary to ward off evil spir­its. Old tra­di­tions die out but you will still find rowan ev­ery­where, only now they are grown for their or­na­men­tal berries and au­tumn colour.

For ex­am­ple, the com­mon species, Sor­bus au­cu­paria, is grown all over Scot­land and has eye-catch­ing scar­let fo­liage in au­tumn with a huge crop of scar­let berries.

The yel­low, pink and white berried rowans give a longer dis­play as birds are not in a hurry to de­vour them like the red-fruited types.

Sor­bus Joseph Rock has yel­low berries amongst scar­let fo­liage, Sor­bus cash­miri­ana has white berries and both Sor­bus hu­pe­hen­sis and vil­morinii fruits start pink then slowly change to white tinged pink. And let’s not for­get holly – no Christ­mas home is com­plete with­out a sprig or two for dec­o­ra­tion.

Com­ing down the scale in size, the co­toneaster genus grows from a small tree, such as C. frigidus, to ground cover, such as C. dammeri. They all get cov­ered in bright red berries that last well into win­ter.

Berries come in all colours from the white snow­berry, Sym­phori­car­pos al­bus, the vi­o­let pur­ple Cal­li­carpa bo­d­inieri, the deep blue-black Ma­ho­nia aquifolium to the bright or­ange sea buck­thorn, Hip­pophae rham­noides.

The fruits are dis­played on a sil­ver­grey feath­ery fo­liage that is great in mar­itime places as it tol­er­ates sea spray and dry sandy soil con­di­tions.

Another ex­cel­lent ever­green ground­cover plant smoth­ered in red, pink, li­lac and white berries is the Per­nettya.

The berries last all win­ter un­til they get sweet­ened up for con­sump­tion by birds in late spring when there is pre­cious lit­tle else for them to eat.

The plants are fe­male so you will need a male pol­li­na­tor to en­sure a good crop of large berries.

The Firethorn pyra­can­tha comes in many va­ri­eties with red, or­ange and yel­low berries. These are pro­duced quite pro­lif­i­cally on tall thorny ever­green bushes which are usu­ally treated by prun­ing to grow as a wall climber.

Birds love the fruit, so although the dis­play is short-lived it is quite stun­ning for a few weeks.

Fi­nally, the out­door or­na­men­tal grape vine, Vi­tis vinifera Brandt, pro­duces nu­mer­ous small bunches of black sweet grapes. It is best trained along wires on a south wall and the au­tumn colour of the large vine leaves is bril­liant.

Fi­esta ap­ples.

Sor­bus Joseph Rock.

Co­toneaster frigidus.

Grape Brandt.

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