February 19, 2018

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Bumper berry haul set for September as rains ripen harvests

September
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UK gardeners, as well as birds, are set be gladdened by what is predicted to be a bumper berry haul this September, predicts the Royal Horticultural Society.

A warm and dry start to the year followed by July and August rains have contributed to many berry-yielding plants, including spindle bushes (euonymus), firethorn (pyracantha), and crab apples, ripening early. As a result, they are less susceptible to the autumn rots and moulds that blight many in the later weeks of autumn and means we are set for a longer than average display of seasonal colour.

The bountiful showing of reds, blacks, yellows and purples contrasts the plight of apples, whose flowers were stifled by a spring frost in some regions. With ornamental berries flowering later and their smaller fruits ripening more quickly than apples, gardeners will find some consolation this autumn.

RHS gardens are displaying a variety of autumn berries including RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey which is awash with callicarpa, clerodendrum, pyracantha and honeysuckle.

Guy Barter, chief horticulturist at the RHS, said: “The public should revel in the wealth of colour that will dot gardens this month, while plant centres are likely to see a surge in sales of those plants now displaying their beautiful berry wares.

“Edible varieties feature less at this time of year but autumn raspberries are yielding lavishly and mulberries are still producing their luscious fruits. All of the berries will mature in the predicted warm spells this September and contrast gloriously with autumn colour from October, before being consumed by birds including blackbirds, finches, starlings, fieldfares and redwings and other wildlife.”

Varieties of autumn ripening berries are recorded on the RHS Find-A-Plant. For a flash of autumn colour gardeners should consider:

  • Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii in startling blue
  • Callicarpa in vivid purple
  • Skimmia in rich red
  • Viburnum davidii in turquoise
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