Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




The last trumpet of colour displayed,

 Gardening with Clive Sullivan of Cameron Landscapes and Ballylesson Garden Centre

THE last trumpet of colour before autumn is being played out in gardens all around us right now.

We are surrounded by shrubs in full bloom, and they'll carry on for a long time yet. But what happens next? Well of course after the flower comes the fruit. All that frenetic summer pollination is creating billions of new seeds; gift wrapped and colourfully advertised berries.

In late summer the native Rowan tree is laden with berries. These Sorbus varieties offer a great selection of colours: Some are light pink berries (Sorbus villmorinii) Bone red (Sorbus 'acuparia') and some yellow (S. Joseph's Rock). You cannot beat a Sorbus tree for sheer range of colour and interest anytime now through to leaf fall. They really light up their leaves before waving goodbye to them. Fully hardy, the Mountain Ash (as Rowans are also known) was a sacred symbol to the Welsh. Funny then the next Archbishop of Canterbury, a Welshman, should be called Rowan Williams, isn't it?

At the Garden Centre look out for Caryopteris 'Worcester Gold', a 3ft high aromatic delight with golden foliage and lavender blue flowers. These look good with herbs, or perhaps underplanting taller Roses, in groups of three, but they are gorgeous in a gravel bed.

Another star performer for this crossover time of year is the Beauty Berry; Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'profusion'. Try saying that after a few drinks l Despite its long winded, Latin name, this is worth having for its striking purple berries; almost gem like; small and sparkling. It has excellent autumn foliage too, purple tinged foliage in spring, and purple flowers in mid summer. Maybe' the artist formerly/currently known as Prince should own one. This is ' best planted, in groups, to ensure cross pollination, Put Cafficarpa at the back of your border because it reaches 10 ft high and 8 ft wide, and the Beauty Berry will really live up to its name.