Berried treasures

Enjoy the rich rewards of autumn up close, by planting your garden with these fab four shrubs that put on an unusual and flamboyant display of colourful seedpods and berries.

Enjoy non-stop pots on the patio by replacing summer flowers with the bright marble-like berries of the dwarf evergreen shrub, Gaultheria mucronata, which is often sold simply as Pernettya, The berries come in white, pink and purple and look stunning when teamed with seasonal favourites like cyclamen, heathers and ornamental cabbages in large containers to create impressive displays or simply displayed solo in a decorative pot on a table top or plant stand.

The broad bean-like indigo coloured pods of Decaisnea fargesii will no doubt get the neighbours talking but not until after this curious shrub, which has the stamina to reach 3m, unfurls handsome pinnate leaves up to 60-90cm long that are blue-tinged when young and in spring produces enormous clusters of yellow-green flowers. It thrives in sun or partial shade and moist, well-drained soil and whilst the young shoots are susceptible to frost, the damaged bits can be pruned off in spring without affecting its overall performance.

Colourful violet-purple berries make Callicarpa Profusion a real treat in October and especially after a long, hot summer and when planted in groups as more berries will be produced. The densely packed berries linger long after the autumn golden-purple tinted leaves drop off and if you’re quick, you can cut some of the berry-laden branches for a vase before the birds take them. If you’ve the space, plant it in groups or combine it with red-berrying shrubs like cotoneaster.

If you have the taste for the exotic, then you must find a warm, sheltered spot for the late summer-flowering shrub, Clerodendron trichotomum. After the fragrant flowers fade, turquoise-blue berries surrounded by the persistent dark red star-shaped calyces extend the season of interest. It’s slow growing and an ideal subject for a pot on the patio – avoid crushing the leaves when handling it though – they have an unpleasant smelly sock odour!

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