The Royal Horticultural Society is predicting a bumper haul of berries this autumn, as a warm and dry start to the year has combined with summer rains to create optimum conditions for berries to form.
The charity says the ideal weather means berries have ripened early, making them less susceptible to autumn rots and moulds which can sometimes blight berries in the later weeks of autumn.
“The public should revel in the wealth of colour that will dot gardens this month,” said RHS Chief Horticulturist Guy Barter. “Garden centres are likely to see a surge in popularity for those plants now displaying their beautiful berry wares.”
So get your skates on and pop down to the garden centre here in Poynings - you’ll find the evidence of this season’s exceptional berry displays on our plant benches, where spindles, pyracantha, crabapples and hollies are looking fabulous, jewelled in orange, butter-yellow and scarlet.
Planting lots of berrying plants in your garden is also a fantastic way to attract in wildlife, especially birds which love to feast on their nourishing fruits. Birds seem to prefer red berries over paler colours like yellow or white; species which will flock to your berry display include blackbirds, fieldfares, redwings and finches.
Other great choices for a spectacular display of berries at this time of year include Callicarpa, also known as the beauty berry for its extraordinary clusters of metallic purple berries, Clerodendrons with berries of startling blue, and evergreen skimmia with rich red berries following on from dense clusters of white blossom, compact enough to grow in a container. If you haven’t included some of these lovely berrying shrubs in your garden yet, pick one up today – there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of peak planting season in autumn and you’ll get to enjoy the berries right away too!