Symphoricarpus albus snowberry bush perhaps you more often see this one in municipal or council planting schemes. I think it deserves a place in the garden, dont eat the poisonous berries though.
From this point, I think we will only refer to this shrub using the common name of Snowberry.
Two of these shrubs have been in our woodland area for as long as I can remember I have to admit that I seldom pay much attention to them. Perhaps writing about plants allows me to see them in a new light.
Snowberry is a hardy brute of a shrub and will grow in almost any soil type in full sun or part shade. Belonging to the Honeysuckle family and mainly grown for its Autumn/Winter interest of outstanding large white berries which start to show in early November continuing through December and even January some years. The garden birds have a dislike for these berries and I would expect not everyone would see this as an advantage.
The deciduous snowberry shrub also has small white/pink flowers in Spring, and mid green oval leaves. Although I don’t have a picture of the flowers at the moment I will add one to this post in April.
Snowberry is native to North America and can grow very tall and apparently the berries form in Summer. Here in the North East of Scotland the much cooler Summer holds back the formation of the berries which have an appealing appearance even when the branches are stripped of their leaves in December. Snowberry can make a good hedge or feature plant lending itself very well to pruning.
In late Winter thin back the shrub by cutting out old stems and reduce theheight of the rest virtually to suit yourself. If you wish to rejuvenate an old shrub simply cut the shrub hard back.
Even in the UK in some areas Snowberry can run wild. It behaves itself very well here in our garden.
We tend to feed the garden birds all year round. In Spring the adults have a tough time finding food for their young and welcome nutrition that we provide for them. However in Winter they really do depend on us.
Our feeding stations are thronging with numerous species at the moment, even busier than usual, why should this be. Well apart from the sunflower hearts which they like more than anything else we would also hang up those fatty balls and squares that you see in the garden centres. More often than not these would be fatty treats just hung there, completely ignored.
A couple of weeks ago Myra decided she would make her own ones. Melting a reasonable amount of lard (yes its still in the stores) also adding peanut kernels, sunflower hearts, weetabix and raisins she moulded them into shape and placed them in the fridge. I hung them out the following morning, this will now have to be a permanent addition to the feeding regime, they just love it.
Within several hours we had the first visit of the Winter of two species we had been waiting for. The long tailed tit was first. They visit most Winters in groups of at least eight and hang around until early Spring.
Even more interesting is the return of the Greater Spotted Woodpecker which in the past was an infrequent visitor, dropping by for a very short time. Now it flits between the feeders calling several times every day.
I will talk to you again in January. I hope you all have a great Christmas and go easy on the booze at Hogmany.
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