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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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Berrylicious Planting

by CountryLife Gardening | Sep 18, 2015

Physalis Alkekengi or as it is commonly called Chinese Lantern is a great herbaceous plant to grow in Ireland. It produces fantastic orange berries which remain encased in what looks like a paper lantern.
Thanks to our weather at the moment I think it is finally really starting to feel like autumn now. Not only does the weather feel autumnal but I have spotted the first couple of leaves on the ground and plants are beginning to dramatically change in appearance at the moment and put on great autumn displays.

For me there are two key features to autumn plants; berries and leaf colour. The latter will be looked at in more detail next week as today I want to share some fantastic plants we have at the moment in CountryLife that will add great interest to you garden in the coming months thanks to their fruit. In some instances the colourful fruit will even last until the start of May which really helps to bridge the gap in colour some borders experience in winter months.

Of all the autumn fruiting plants on sale Skimmia has to be one of the most iconic plants of the past number of years. This is down to it’s reliability and great display of berries that it produces each year. At the moment we have a number of different varieties that brighten up any garden.

For most skimmia to produce the fruit you need a male and female plant in your garden which will then cross-pollinate. However there is a variety on sale now which is self-pollinating meaning you do not have to worry if you have both plants in your garden. Skimmia Temptation produces large clusters of 20-30 fruit and would be a great option for gardeners who would not have space for two shrubs. The berries at the moment are a strawberry pink colour however in the coming weeks they will turn to a deep rich red.

Skimmia Reevesiana is a great female variety which is very compact in size and would make a great option for someone with limited space or anyone looking to fill in a small gap in a border. Skimmia Rubella is one of the best male varieties in my eyes. It produces pinkish red buds which will keep their colour throughout the winter. This a great variety to plant in pots to add colour to patios and around doors. Skimmia Marlot is variegated variety for anyone looking for something slightly different for their garden. The leaves have a silver hue to them with gold edges which makes for a great contrast between the fruit and leaves

Another great plant for this time of the year is Gaultheria Procumben which as you can see from its appearance is related to the cranberry plant. This is a great squat low growing plant which has almost privet like leaves. The best feature of this plant is that it flowers and fruits at the same time. This year’s flower will become next year’s fruit. So at the same time as you have fantastic almost salmon pink berries you will also have very delicate off white flowers. Those looking for more impact should consider Big Berry which as the name suggests is the same plant however everything on it is bigger.

Solanum Jupiter is a fantastic plant that will produce berries right up until May in the right garden. It part of the potato family and produces red almost cherry tomato like fruit. This plant will do perfect outside until the first frost and then should be brought inside a conservatory or greenhouse.

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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