Winter Jasmine: An Early-Bloomer Often Mistaken for Forsythia

Copy of Jasminum_nudiflorum - wikimedia commonsThis has been an especially brutal winter for folks in many parts of the country — including the northeast, the midwest, and even the southeast, where gardeners are used to having flowers all winter. It’s one of those years when the earliest blooming plants will be especially welcome. Winter jasmine is one of those. It can bloom so early in the year during a warm spell that I’ve heard older Southern gardeners call it “January jasmine.” Continue reading

Signs of the Season: Autumn Blooming Cherry

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Photo: wlcutler, via Flickr

The autumn flowering cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) is such an innocuous little tree that the only time I’m likely to notice it is when it’s putting out a flush of bloom during the cold months. But when I see cherry blossoms in November, I know exactly what I’m looking at. A couple of years ago, I was in the north of England over Thanksgiving weekend. The weather was foggy, drizzly, dreary – yet, standing out through the mist was a glorious display of light pink blooms on bare branches. On such a gray day late in the fall, the flowers were a welcome surprise. Continue reading

Plant Beautyberry for Shockingly Purple Fall Berries

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Photo credit: Morguefile

American beautyberry is an odd sort of shrub. By this I mean it’s hard to categorize. During the spring and summer it’s not really much to look at, just a generic looking bush that’s probably best placed in an informal setting. Not the kind of shrub you lust after…

Yet when it comes to calling attention to itself in the fall, this shrub is shameless! By late summer it’s already heavily adorned with clusters of berries so purple, they’re downright shocking. The berries hold their own through these cool, crisp days of September — but just wait until a bit later in the fall. In October and November, when the shrub has lost its foliage, the fruits are absolutely brazen on the leafless branches. Continue reading