(English) BERRY CHRISTMAS.
Winter is here again, although it has been unseasonably mild, the bananas in the Double Walled Garden are snugly wrapped against the cold and the gunneras have their giant leaves cut off, turned upside-down like pixie hats, to protect their crowns from frost.
Holly berries are traditional for the Christmas season, such as the variegated Ilex aquifolium ‘Madame Briot’ found on The Broadwalk but amongst the borders there are some very interesting and unusual berries to be found. Viburnum davidii, for example, is a very neat, dome-shaped, evergreen shrub with dark-green, leathery leaves above which stands clusters of ovoid, metallic-blue berries.
On The Broadwalk there is a climber that cannot be missed. In autumn, its bright yellow leaves are really eye-catching but it is the fruit of Celastrus orbiculatus, Oriental Bittersweet, native to Asia, that puts on a magnificent display. It produces masses of bright yellow berries which during autumn into winter, turn to orange then red.
Venture into the Double Walled Garden and find a shrub with the oddest coloured fruits. This is Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii, Bodinier’s Beautyberry, native to west-central China and more tolerant of cold. It has tiny, violet coloured berries that look like artificial beads.
Walk across to the Slate Beds and find a splash of red from the leaves and fruit of a Berberis. This is a short, dense, small-leaved variety called Berberis thunbergii forma atropurpurea ‘Atropurpurea Nana’, originating from Japan. It has masses of spectacular, tiny, bright glossy red ellipsoid berries.
Also at the top of the Slate Beds is a hawthorn which is native to America. The Grignon’s Thorn, Crataegus x grignonensis , has masses of white flowers in June followed by giant bright red haws in autumn/winter.