Someone painted pictures on my
Windowpane last night —
Willow trees with trailing boughs
And flowers, frosty white,
And lovely crystal butterflies;
But when the morning sun
Touched them with its golden beams,
They vanished one by one.
When I read this quote from Jack Frost by Helen Bayley Davis, I envision a beautiful but colorless winter landscape. Shades of winter don’t need to be limited to white, brown, black and green. There is an alternative to add drops of color to your winter landscape. Consider planting fall or winter bearing fruit.
Although most of these berries are not fit for human consumption, these foods are important both for migratory birds which build up fat reserves and as a food source for non-migratory species that need to get through winter in good physical condition. The difference between fall-bearing fruit and winter-bearing fruit is a matter of taste to wildlife. Some berries need to go through a cycle of freezing and thawing before becoming palatable to wildlife.
These shrubs and trees offer many choices in color and varieties of berries.
• Coralberry- These purple fruits are favorites of songbirds, ruffed grouse, and wild turkey. A versatile shrub that matures late autumn into winter and grows in wet to dry conditions in full sun to shade.
• Common Spicebush- Matures late summer into fall, but the red berries tend to last well into winter. Grows best in moist conditions from part sun to shade.
• Highbush Cranberry – This red fruit is available for wildlife from fall through spring. Grows in full to part sun and moist to wet conditions.
• Choke Cherry-This purple fruit matures late summer in full sun to shade and prefers dry conditions.
• Crabapple- These trees bear yellow, green, coral or red fruit depending on the variety. Matures fall through winter.
• American Holly- Traditional red fruit or also a yellow-berried English variety. Matures fall through winter. Full to part-sun. Prefers moist soil but can withstand dry conditions.
• American Mountain Ash- This tree has orange fruit that matures late summer into winter. Prefers full sun and dry conditions.
• Virginia Creeper- The blue fruit matures late summer into spring. Prefers shady, moist conditions.
• American or Japanese Barberry- These bushes bear red fruit and mature late summer into fall. Prefers full sun and moist to dry conditions.
• Beautybush- This purple fruit matures late summer into fall. Southern woodland native.
• Winterberry- The name says it all. The red fruit matures late summer through winter. Full sun to shade, moist conditions.
• Firethorn- This orange fruit matures late summer through winter and prefers dry conditions.
• Buffaloberry- The fruit varies from yellowish to red and matures late summer into fall in full sun to shade.
So go ahead and plant a fall or winter bearing plant and brighten up your scenery. The wildlife will also thank you for it!