Shrubs with Attractive Fruits
The golden quinces of japonica are very handsome, and are most likely to be seen on the species Chaenomeles japonica alpina or Chaenomeles japonica ‘Boule de Feu’. Chaenomeles cathayensis produces large oval-shaped fruits. Any of these can be used for makingjam or jelly.
The yellow pea flowers of Colutea arborescens are followed by bladder-like, translucent fruits. These are hollow with a small seed inside, and they will last through most of the winter.
The cotoneasters, as well as being very good spring-flowering shrubs, also have berries in the autumn in brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. Each shoot will be a mass of berries and they are really most effective through the autumn and the early part of the winter; some even go on right through the winter, for instance Cotoneaster horizontalis, the fishbone cotoneaster, has a mass of bright red fruits from the autumn through to February or March; in many situations the leaves also colour bright red in autumn. Cotoneaster cornubia is a graceful shrub, strong growing to 20 ft., with a profusion of red berries in drooping clusters. The flowers are white.
Cotoneaster salicifolius fructu-luteo is, and has yellow berries; Cotoneaster disticha has orange fruits lasting until spring and is a smallish shrub with semi-evergreen leaves and small, pinkish-white flowers. Pruning is not required except to keep them in shape or to remove crowded or weak shoots.
A shrub from China, Decaisnea fargesii reaches about 10 ft. in height with large pinnate leaves and drooping clusters of yellow flowers. Its chief attraction, however, is the deep blue, bean-like pods hanging in clusters in autumn. Inside the pods is a kind of jelly-like substance in which the seeds are embedded. The pods last a long time and are not attractive to birds. Pruning is not required.
The first requirement of these low-growing shrubs is acid soil. Given this, they will grow well and produce their attractive berries in abundance. As evergreens they are natives to moorland conditions, and make good ground cover, and the various forms of Pernettya mucronata have clusters of fat, round pink, white, red, lilac or deep purple berries. They require a, and the type plant Pernettya mucronata can be used for this. White flowers are produced in spring. No pruning is required.
The name for Skimmia japonica is taken from a Japanese word ‘skimmi’, and the shrub itself is a handsome slow-growing evergreen, with a rather stiff, sculptured habit of growth, its white flowers appearing in spring, followed by clusters of prominent red berries which last through the winter. Skimmias mostly have male and female flowers on separate plants, so it is necessary to have at least one of each sex to ensure berries. S. japonica is the commonly grown species; S. japonica fragrans is a sweet-scented male form. S. reevesiana does not require a pollinator, since it is self-fertile; it has crimson, oval-shaped berries. Pruning is not required, except to tidy the bushes, and acid soil in a sunny place is preferred; however, they can be grown quite successfully in light shade and a neutral soil.
Viburnum davidii, whose white flowers appear in June, has bright turquoise-blue berries, not very large but very thickly clustered, in autumn. The growth is dense and compact, and its shiny, wrinkled, evergreen leaves are another attraction. Height 2-3 ft. Viburnum betulifolium is a viburnum with a quite different habit of growth, being rather loose and arching, and reaching 10-15 ft. In autumn it has masses of brilliant red berries in clusters, following the white flowers of June. It is deciduous.
Viburnum opulus flowers in May and June. Its red translucent berries, like luscious, persist long into the winter. It also reaches a height of 10-15 ft. and is deciduous.