November 25, 2009

Autumn brings in all the berries
Photo by Jessica Walliser

As far as I’m concerned, late autumn is one of the most beautiful times in the garden. 

Not because it’s productive, of course, and there certainly isn’t much (if anything) in bloom, but rather because it’s prime time for berries—and I don’t mean the ones you can eat. 

Seeing tiny crabapples, holly berries, beautyberries, and pendulous viburnum berry clusters hanging on otherwise bare branches always makes me smile. 

Even though it’s raining outside and the weather is kind of bleak here, I can’t help but feel there is some sort of promise in those fruits.  Some vague sign that life goes on even though winter will soon settle in. 

Birds, of course, depend on berries for food all winter long, as do deer and wild turkey.  But I know I’m not the only one who appreciates them for their simple beauty.  Our local flower shop is full of locally-grown, berried branches. 

I love to stop in the day before Thanksgiving to see what their forager has brought in (don’t worry his harvests are licensed and legal).  Privet, bittersweet, wild rose hips, tallow berry, winterberry—it’s all there lined up in buckets and ready to adorn someone’s family table.  I just hope those folks see all the wonder and promise I see in those little jewels.   

Let’s not forget this Thanksgiving to give thanks to Mama Nature for sweet little things like berries and turkey tail mushrooms and tadpoles and hummingbird eggs. 

They’re everyday little miracles that go overlooked in our crazy lives.  Gardeners are well aware of all the treasures nature holds.  We’re lucky enough to see them everyday, up close and head-on.

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