Bumper berry haul set for September

UK gardeners, as well as birds, are set for a bumper berry haul this September, predicts the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

A warm and dry start to the year followed by July and August rains have contributed to many berry-yielding plants, including spindle bushes (euonymus), firethorn (pyracantha), and crab apples, ripening early. As a result, they are less susceptible to the autumn rots and moulds that blight many in the later weeks of autumn and means we are set for a longer than average display of seasonal colour.

The bountiful showing of reds, blacks, yellows and purples contrasts the plight of apples, whose flowers were stifled by a spring frost in some regions. With ornamental berries flowering later and their smaller fruits ripening more quickly than apples, gardeners will find some consolation this autumn.

A variety of autumn berries are on display at RHS Gardens including RHS Garden Wisley which is awash with callicarpa, clerodendrum, pyracantha and honeysuckle.

Varieties of ripening berries are recorded on the RHS Find-A-Plant and for a flash of autumn colour the RHS recommend that gardeners should consider:

Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii in startling blue
        Callicarpa in vivid purple
        Skimmia in rich red
        Viburnum davidii in turquoise

Chief Horticulturist at the RHS, Guy Barter, says that the public should revel in the wealth of colour that will dot gardens during September, while plant centres are likely to see a surge in sales of those plants now displaying their beautiful berry wares: “Edible varieties feature less at this time of year but autumn raspberries are yielding lavishly and mulberries are still producing their luscious fruits. All of the berries will mature in the predicted warm spells this September and contrast gloriously with autumn colour from October, before being consumed by birds including blackbirds, finches, starlings, fieldfares and redwings and other wildlife,” he added.

Photo credit: Banner – Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ ©RHS, credit: Joanna Kossak

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