HALL: From fruit to flame: The fab four of the fall garden

Fab Four

Beautyberry is beautiful in the private garden.

Laura Hall
Published: Friday, December 6, 2013 at 04:39 PM.

The end of the year is looming large, and I am down to a fabulous foursome that will be hard to beat in our Destin gardens. 

Over the course of a year, I am enthralled by the many beautiful blossoms, but the colors showing now in our autumn gardens are something you don’t want to miss. 

With the official start of winter not arriving until Dec. 21, this time of year, the blossoms of the Cassia create a vivid spotlight in the garden and many people will tell you they grow anywhere you give them room. 

They prefer full sun but will take a bit of shade. These shrubs will grow 8 - 12 feet high with arching branches and a light airy structure.  Starting late November, the bush covers itself with bright yellow, clusters of flowers that are long lasting.  Easy to find at Home Depot or Lowe’s, their beauty will repay you year after year. Looking for a fool proof, quick growing shrub, this is the one for you.

I have always loved the beautyberry (Callicarpa) and if you plant one of these, I can almost guarantee you it will grow to your greatest expectations. It takes full sun to light shade and is usually grown in home gardens for its violet-purple fruits (non-edible) appearing in tight clusters along the branches. 

The branches of fruit, with the leaves removed, are beautiful in floral arrangements. Some of the beautyberry bushes are most undignified and will grow with great abandon. The Callicarpa d. Albifructus is a white-fruited form and one of the most dignified for our smaller gardens.

I usually don’t get into the botanical names of plants as I rarely remember them for more than 10 minutes; however, for our readers who enjoy a bit of a tongue twister, this one is for you.  Brazilian Red Cloak or megaskepasma erythrochlamys. 

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