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Nature's berry best baubles to brighten up the winter

Six of the berry best to brighten up the season

Christmas is about to take centre stage now that December is just about here. It's good for the soul to rejoice in positive sights, sounds and celebrations. So let's not forget those that are taking place all around, unaided by LEDs. Nature has its own #festivedisplay which doesn’t need to cycle through various flashy patterns in order to impress. What’s more, berried bushes are for life, not just for Christmas. There are many wild creatures that depend upon the feast during deepest, darkest December.

Cactus Santa, father christmas dressed as Santa, cactus plant, tiny cacti, plants as presents, This cactus Santa relies on clothing to make him look bright and festive. But many plants are producing their own winter baubles that look AMAZING!

Here are six of the brightest and berry best berries – don’t miss their festive glamour!

Euonymus europaeus, the spindle tree with its red, pink and orange winter fruits, Euonymus europaeus, the spindle tree. It looks as if the winter fairy has clothed it in orange and red baubles.

Euonymus europaeus, the spindle tree (above).

At this time of year the bare branches of this charming shrub are adorned with the most amazing technicolour berries in red and pink, splitting open to reveal bright orange seeds. These really are the berry best. There’s really nothing quite like this dazzling delight that acts like a beacon on the woodland edge. It’s a great shrub for a garden too, as there are several cultivars, such as ‘Red Cascade’, that have been bred not only for the best berry colour but also for its autumn leaf display too.

Cotoneaster horizontalis and other types of Cotoneaster have wildlife friendly berries in red, orange and yellow. Cotoneaster is a versatile shrub that comes in many different forms. The berries are loved by birds and wildlife.

Cotoneaster, in its many different forms (above)

This charming shrub has red or yellow berries which are loved by birds. Some, but not all, forms of this versatile plant are considered to be an unwanted pest as they tend to spread over the garden wall and escape into the wild. This is because the berries are so delicious and birds scatter the seed all around. This doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s an uplifting sight for our winter-weary soul, particularly Cotoneaster lacteus and C. ‘Cornubia’ which can retain their red berries through even the heaviest frost and snow.

Skimmias with pink flowers in the winter make an uplifting sight in pots or in the winter border. Skimmias have 'beaded' winter flowers in pink, red and purple and glossy evergreen foliage.

Skimmias  (above)

These brilliant evergreens are true stars of the borders and outdoor pots during December, providing glossy foliage and luscious berries like Christmas tree baubles. In fact, these are shrubs with a multi-season display. Their winter berries are undoubtedly their berry best asset and it’s rare to find a compact shrub which is robust, disease-free, beautiful and prickle-free. Just make sure you buy a male and female plant as the female generally needs a male nearby in order to produce the best berries. See, men ARE useful.

Holly shrub with evergreen leaves and bright red berries is great for decorations at Christmas Holly, with its red berries, is one of the best-loved decorative joys of Christmas!

Ilex (above) the ultimate Christmas decoration.

Holly is probably the best-known species of the month and who would want Christmas without holly? There’s even a song about it. Holly berries are the hallmark of winter and when set against its glossy green or variegated foliage, there’s nothing that shouts Christmas as loudly. Loved by birds and by florists and festive decorators, it’s hurrah for holly all winter long.

Sorbus aucuparia, the rowan or mountain ash (above).

The Sorbus genus includes many superb berry-producing trees that are top bird attractions for early winter.  The rowan trees are manageable, small and rather dignified, being adorned in berries as soon as autumn commences. They are generally stripped bare by Christmas, so enjoy a feast for the eyes before it becomes a treasured meal for birds. The red berries are always the first to be snapped up, but there are pink, orange and yellow berried varieties too.

The purple lilac berries of Callicarpa bodinieri var. Giraldii adorn the shrub in winter. Callicarpa bodinieri var. Giraldii ‘Profusion’has the most unusual, vibrant purple berries!

Included for its ‘wow’ factor on account of the colour is the beauty berry, Callicarpa bodinieri var. Giraldii ‘Profusion’ (above).

It has violet coloured berries which appear in clusters almost like mini bunches of grapes. What’s more, they will hang around for ages. Birds do like to eat them but they are a winter dessert rather than main course and they tend to be left until later.

Berries, fruits and blooms happening behind closed doors too

Many indoor plants spring into life in December. Here’s our round-up of some of the best uplifting house plant sights:

citrus trees including oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes and limequats. Citrus plants, such as this 'Limequat' indoor tree, are bearing fruit now. The fruit takes almost a year to ripen and it stays on the plant for ages.

Citrus plants are bearing fruit, and they look amazing.

Pendulous, luscious lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruit and even 'limequats' (see picture above) growing indoors during our cold, dark days, give a boost to the spirits. These plants generally flower during winter too, and the fruits can subsequently take up to one year to ripen. They need warmth and light. Conservatory living often suits them very well, but they do like high humidity if you can manage it.

The popular winter cherry, Solanum capsicastrum, is another bright light for December.

It’s often called the mini orange tree as the berry best fruits look rather like tiny oranges. If kept in a cool indoor position, the berries of this house plant will stay red and orange for many weeks to come.

bromeliad house plants including red and pink Guzmanias with flower bracts Beautifully vibrant bromeliads! These are Guzmanias which have flower bracts of brilliant crimson and fuchsia pink.

Then there are the bromeliads (above), a family that includes the pineapple.

Some of these have ornamental foliage and long-lasting, shockingly bright blooms in fuchsia pink and red. The majority of bromeliads are epiphytes and this means they grow in the wild on other plants and rocks, rather than in the soil. The long-lasting flower bracts look unreal and last for up to six months. Once the bloom has faded, the mother plant will produce little ‘pups’ and these will make a new generation of bromeliads, even though the parent plant will die.

There are house plant flowers bursting into life everywhere. Take Clivia, for example.

clivia house plant with an orange flower and strappy leaves in a hot house at Perfect Plants The strappy leaves on their own are impressive, but the orange flower of this Clivia is stunning.

Clivia have strappy, glossy leaves and charming tubular winter flowers in shades of apricot, orange, yellow and red. They originate from South Africa and certainly bring a touch of the exotic to homes in deepest, darkest December, through to January and beyond.

christmas cactus house plant called Schlumbergera for sale at Perfectplants.co.uk The strange but beautiful Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera, comes in white, red, orange, yellow and purple. This is a festive gift that keeps on growing.

Not to mention those most endearing of Christmas gifts, the Christmas cactus.

Schlumbergera are long-lasting plants that will grow and prosper, however badly they are treated. Their tubular, bell-like blooms appear just when we need them the most, in colours of luscious white, yellow, orange, pink, red and purple.

Absolutely top banana!

And here, we just need to include visiting Cockapoo, Beans, going a bit bananas today in the greenhouse under Musa basjoo, a rather stately and impressive banana palm.

beans the cockapoo underneath musa basjoo banana palm house plant or garden plant Going a bit bananas in the hot house is Beans the cockapoo under Musa basjoo.