Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Color in winter: berries.

Several winters ago it became quite evident that we had planted mostly deciduous shrubs because the yard looked bleak, brown and bare. We busily remedied the situation by planting many more evergreens, both broadleaf and conifers.

We also planted shrubs with colorful fruit, especially several deciduous winterberry hollies and Nandina.

The photos are of plants bearing fruit and berries for their color. I will post the various kinds of conifers we planted in a later blog.

A viburnum in late fall.

Pieris japonica. The tiny swollen reddish purple bumps are not fruit but buds which will open in spring.

The evergreen holly 'Nellie Stevens' in fall and as it appears now.

Two types of winter berry holly.

Hydrangea paniculata. Not a very colorful plant but interesting nonetheless. The light panicles contrasting with the darker seed heads makes it look quite nice.


Dogwood in late fall.

St. John's wort earlier this fall.

Crab apples earlier in fall. I notice that some of the crab apple trees still have fruit attached even this late into the season.

I snuck this dwarf Nandina in because it still has nice colors because it has been a relatively mild winter this year.

When I was uploading the photos, I was struck by how similar the berries of different plants looked.


Blogger Connie said...

All the berries are lovely! It is interesting that we share the same zone....but we have had an unusually cold winter, with more snow than we've seen in many years.

2:05 PM  
Blogger joey said...

Great shots of winter berries, Ki ... glad everything is working well on the site for you. I missed peeking in on your great photography :(

2:05 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Very pretty... you're right, they do look very similar. I'm surprised that the birds around you haven't eaten a bunch of them yet--do you find that they descend on the garden at some point in the winter to feast?

8:55 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Connie,
I guess La Nina has affected the West coast and Midwest more than the Mid Atlantic states. At least the drought prone areas are getting much needed moisture and snow pack. It is quite surprising that we live in the same climatic zone with much different kind of least this year. The berries are pretty much the only bright colors in the yard this time of year so are even more prominent and beautiful. Thanks for visiting.

Hi Joey,
Using IE, I noticed some of the elements of the blog still does not show up but those are the peripheral things. The main portion and especially the photos are viewable. I tried using a html checker but didn't quite know what to do with the information it displayed so I prob. won't do much more with the template.

Thanks for your compliment. The winterberry hollies are a blessing during the winter.


Hi Kim,
Surprisingly the berries must be unpalatable to the birds or the food we put out is preferred because they don't seem to eat them. The dogwood fruit must be quite delicious because a number of birds will raid the tree when the fruit ripens. Our resident mocking bird tries in vain to protect the tree from the huge raiding parties of starlings. They can strip a tree in a matter of minutes. The Nandina and winterberries remain untouched. Thanks for stopping by.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

Our winterberry hollies are usually picked clean by the birds before Christmas, but I've read that birds wait to eat them until they've been frozen and thawed.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Phillip said...

Very pretty - the crabapples look good enough to eat. I haven't noticed many berries in my garden this winter.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

We had temps in the 20's a few weeks ago so the berries must have frozen but the birds don't touch them. I guess we feed the birds too well - they seem to prefer black oil sunflower seeds to berries. Maybe if the purported irruption (I had to look up that word)heads our way, the fruit loving Bohemian Waxwings will eat the berries. ;) I'd love to see a Bohemian Waxwing or Bohemian anything.


Hi Phillip,
I tried tasting some of our flowering crabapples (not the ones pictured) but they were extremely astringent even when thoroughly ripe. We had a bull terrier who loved to eat a certain kind of crab apple on our daily walk. She was a funny looking dog but even funnier with a silly looking grin crunching those tiny apples.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Berries are great for adding some colour to the winter garden. I love them but so do the birds and in my garden most berries are soon gone.

Loved the pic of the Pieris, very nice and the dwarf Nandina looks great with all those gorgeous colours it is displaying.

1:23 AM  
Blogger kate said...

You have really good winter colour in your garden, Ki. The Viburmum and Pieris are both gorgeous. Your photographs of the Dogwood and the Hollies are spectacular. I am constantly amazed by the quality of your photographs. They are wonderful.

I'm glad you snuck in the dwarf Nandina - is it ever attractive!

And now I have to turn my mind to getting ready for the Super Bowl. I never thought I'd be watching it, but that's what happens when one has a football-obsessed teenaged boy.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Yolanda Elizabet,
It remains a mystery why our berries seem to go untouched. I have a feeling the kinds of berries we planted aren't very palatable, i.e. I have never seen a bird eat a Nandina berry, ever. I assume the holly berries are not very good either.

The Pieris remains evergreen in our climate and is a nice 4 season shrub. The red/purple flower buds and stem add some much needed color in winter. The nandina is supposed to turn completely red, anyway that's how the picture on the label portrayed it. The first year it remained green until we had a few weeks with 20 F temps. This second year the color is much improved so I'm hoping the third year will be a charm and the whole bush will turn a bright red.

Hi Kate,
Thank you for the kind compliment. We realized a couple of years ago that our yard in winter lacked greenery and color. We tried to extensively remedy the situation but I'm still on the look out for interesting winter plants. Next up for the blog will be the conifers which were mainly planted for their greenery but we also have many golden varieties too.

The photography has been a hit and miss but I think I've gotten better mostly due to the camera. I do try to see more and compose the picture in the camera's lcd monitor more carefully but it's still more luck than skill. I take many photographs (20+)of the same subject and choose the best. That's the really nice thing about digital cameras. Take tons of pictures and keep the ones you want, erase the card and you're good to go again. With film, I would have taken one and maybe two pictures at most because it was tooexpensive to take multiple photos.

8:54 AM  
Blogger kate said...

That is so true about digital cameras. It's possible to take lots of pictures and save the good ones.

I'm looking forward to your next blog post.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

The digital camera is a boon to people like me who are basically lousy photographers. I take a lot of pictures of the same subject, sometimes 20 or 30 shots or more from all angles and distances and choose from the best. I'm sure Ansel Adams is rolling in his grave but that's how I do it. Still haven't developed an eye for framing the subject.

If the weather will cooperate and not rain for a change I may be able to take some photos of the evergreens but we're expecting more heavy downpours today and showers tomorrow. Good for the plants though so I'm not complaining.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Benjamin Vogt said...

Looking forward to seeing those conifers! Give me some ideas, man.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

You have such an assortment there, Ki - ours are mostly Burford holly and Yaupon. Last year the Burford sat there until spring, when some Robins stopped off for a while on their way north.
In IL, the birds used to leave the cotoneaster berries on until spring, too.

If you don't think your photos are good - your standards are impossible high!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

3:05 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Annie,
You'd think birds would be quite hungry for fruit by now but the berries remain uneaten.

I've seen stunning examples of plant and flower photography on my web wanderings which is a good gauge to measure my photos by. Of course most were taken with equipment costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than my basic point and shoot camera but a good photographer should be able to capture a wonderful picture using the most basic equipment, no?

The wow factor is what I'm looking for or at least trying to achieve though I seem to be mired in muck in trying to make progress.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Benjamin,

Sorry to have missed your comment. As soon as I take a few photos of the conifers I will post them. We have quite a number of different types including golden or yellow ones because we wanted some color in winter. Thanks for your comment and sorry to have overlooked it previously.

1:50 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

My Photo
Location: Zone 6, New Jersey, United States

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Carnival-small Blogroll Me!

Listed on Blogwise

Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Gardening  Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory