The beauty and the berry

Written by Doug Oster on .

BBFall wouldn't be the same, at least in my garden, without the beautyberry (Callicarpa americana). It's a one-trick pony, but what a time to do the trick. Just as frost has started to take its toll on the annuals, beautyberry shines.

This is one of those indestructible plants that will grow in full sun or deep shade. Mine grows at the edge of the forest and reacts to that light with a weeping form that I love. There's one in the Discovery Garden at Phipps and in bright sun it grows eight feet straight up.

They are great in a vase; the purple berries are almost luminescent.

It's a native plant, the bees enjoy the flowers and the berries are eaten by the birds. There's some research that shows compounds from the leaves are an effective insect repellent.

My beautyberry plant lures me to a part of the garden I don't visit very often, but I must walk down there this time of the year to enjoy the wonderful berries.

I'm working on a project that I'll post soon here. It's a video slide show called "The Wonders of the Fall Garden." I got the idea while walking through woods yesterday. I did some shooting this morning and might finish up this afternoon and will post it as soon as I finish the project.

Last night was the first real frost I got and that's 15 days later than the average according to my records. It was a good time to test FreezePruf, an interesting new natural spray that protects tender plants down to nine degrees. I sprayed dahlias, impatiens, coleus and a pepper plant with the product. They look pretty good this morning and we had 31 degrees this morning.

Looking at the weather, I might get another week or so out of these very tender plants, which I'm happy about.






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