Friday, September 26, 2008

Berries and Bargains

A week ago, Lisa at Greenbow suggested everyone show the berries in their gardens, and several people have followed up with some delightful posts. I enjoy gardening memes, so I thought I would participate and check for any berries in my own garden. Without any flowering shrubs, though, (something that needs to be corrected here!), I don't have many berries. I was completely surprised, however, when I noticed these red berries on my detested yews. I've heard of juniper berries, but yew berries?? I double-checked on Wikipedia, and yes, yews can develop berries in the fall.

A few weeks ago I noticed these little berries on the lantana, which Gail has already shown on her post. This is the first year I've planted the pink and reddish varieties of lantana, and I must admit I've been disappointed that they haven't bloomed more. Interestingly, though, these are the ones producing berries; the yellow lantana, which has bloomed profusely all summer, has no berries.

The showiest "berries" in my garden aren't really berries at all--these are the fruits on one of the flowering crabapples. The pink and red varieties of the crabapples have already lost most of their leaves and much of their fruit, but this white one, which blooms last, still looks very colorful.

And that's it for my berries--can you believe it? Unless, of course, you are willing to count these . . .

We have over twenty pine trees on our property, and they are covered with pine cones at the moment. I usually pick some from the ground in the fall to use in Christmas decorations or crafts with the grandchildren, but most wind up being chopped up by the lawnmower and left on the ground.

Does anyone remember my saying back in June that I would buy no more plants this year? Of course, that was an impossible promise to make, and if I remember correctly, I amended it to say no more annuals. I've been in a bad need for a "plant fix" lately, so I've made a couple stops at garden centers recently just to check out sales. Last week I went to one of the best (and most expensive) centers in town primarily to check out sales on garden statuary or ornaments. I didn't find much in my price range, but they did have their large selection of hostas on sale for 20% off.

This Hosta Sieboldiana "Northern Exposure" was one I couldn't resist. I love big hostas--the tag says this one could grow as wide as 70"! That could certainly cover up some bare spots in the shade garden. Besides its size, it has deeply corrugated leaves and fits the criteria Mr. McGregor's Daughter gave for slug-resistant hostas. (Hmm, where did those yellow leaves come from? Excuse me while I go turn on the soaker hose for awhile . . .)

Yesterday I had some time for a little more plant shopping and visited our favorite garden center, Prairie Gardens. Display cases and bins were full of spring flowering bulbs. As always, I am enticed by the pastel hues of spring. Even though I've already ordered quite a few tulips and daffodils, I picked up some sale packages of crocuses, bluebells, and hyacinths.

It's much too early to begin planting bulbs here, especially since we have had temperatures in the low to mid-80's all week. The best time to plant bulbs in our zone 5 gardens is in mid to late October, but I have planted them as late as November 12. No doubt I will be back to buy even more bulbs next month.

Prairie Gardens had already replaced most of its shelves of gardening supplies and ornaments with rows and rows of Christmas decorations, but I did find a few stray bargains on a clearance aisle including this bird bath. It's nothing special, but I still haven't gotten around to trying to glue together my broken ceramic bird bath, and the price on this one was too good to pass up. The top is molded plastic, but it doesn't look as tacky as it sounds; besides, the deer won't be able to break this one!

Back in the shrub area, though, I found some real bargains. All the hydrangeas were marked down 50%. I could have gone a little crazy here, but I controlled my impulses and limited my purchases to just this one hydrangea.

This is my first macrophylla--I'm a little disappointed in the mopheads, which, as their name implies, tend to flop over. This one is called "Let's Dance Moonlight" and is supposed to have "vivid" pink blooms with "attractive reddish-bronze foliage in the fall." At $6.99, I thought it was quite a bargain. I'm regretting, though, passing up some "Limelight" hydrangeas for $20.00. I may just have to go back next week . . .

While shopping, who should call but Beckie, saying I needed to check out another plant outlet. Danville Gardens Two is a small branch of a larger, very nice center in a nearby town that carries some selections you won't find any place else. I bought some annuals here earlier this summer, but I didn't realize they were still open this late in the season. This was definitely the place for bargains! (Joyce, are you reading this?) I drove over, intending to buy a couple baskets of mums.

Tables and tables of large mums in every hue imaginable greeted me. I couldn't make up my mind what color to buy! I had planned to buy just two, but I picked up my usual mauve color, then decided I needed some "real" fall colors, so I bought a rust one and a yellow one. On my way to check out, I noticed this yellow charmer with the orange centers, and I couldn't resist.

So my two mums turned into four, but at $5.00 apiece, I didn't feel too bad. I later saw some similarly priced at Walmart, but they were 1/3 the size of these!

But my real bargain here was this Boston fern. I haven't had an indoor fern in years, but again the price was too good to pass up. This photo doesn't show the true size of this plant, but it is huge. I've seen similar ones in nurseries selling for $40-$50. Guess how much I paid for this fern?

Would you believe $5.00?? Who could pass up a bargain like this?!

I may not have "berry" many berries (groan), but I am thrilled with my bloomin' bargains!

Have a good weekend, everyone!


  1. Rose, I always enjoy reading your posts. I feel I have just been shopping with you, I did love my trip to the garden centre thank you so much. I do hate the way Christmas creeps into the shops so early though. It's the same here too, however although we are not having 80 degrees, we are having better weather now than we've had all summer but the shops can't keep up! I went to get some meat for a BBQ today and last weekend too but there is no counter for that in any of the supermarkets now. It's the wrong 'season' apparently, but no one has told the weather!!

  2. My goodness you have been a busy girl. Love your berries. I know yews get a bad rap right now becasue they are out of fashion but I like yews. They are reliable and just look at that dark green color with those red berries. Just lovely. I wish I could run into some bargains like you found. Good choices.

  3. Oh Rose !!!
    Those are great bargains girl !
    We have yews that are shaped like Xmas trees and YES ! they have little red berries : )
    I bought a hosta called Big Daddy this year .. but I think it needs time to get that way ? LOL
    Love the bird bath .. great buys : )

  4. Thanks, Suburbia; I enjoy shopping so much more when I go with a friend:) I'm certainly not in the mood to look at Christmas decorations right now, either. Once Halloween is over, that is all you will see in the shops. Do the British celebrate Halloween as much as we do?

    Lisa, The only reason I detest my yews is that they are over-grown. I like the smaller shrubs, too, but mine are out of control. Now if I could only transplant them somewhere else... I love a good bargain; I was just lucky yesterday.

  5. Uh-oh. I should NOT have read this post! First, I succumb to camera-lust, and now I read the words sale and garden center in the same sentence. Thanks loads, Rose.

  6. Dear Rose,
    You did wonderfully! So many nice plants for such great prices.
    I love the yellow mum with the orange centers. I also would have bought at least four at $5.00 a piece. Wow.
    I am wild for mums right now~!

  7. you make me ALMOST want to go plant shopping! (This falls under my husband's job!) you garden will look lovely as ever with the new additions~

  8. As usual, you have a "berry" special post, Rose! Since you will probably want to bring your Boston fern inside soon, here is some encouraging info about how it can improve your indoor air quality (so important for winter-bound gardeners):

  9. What a pretty berry that yew berry is. I would count the crabapples as berries too. They sure look it to me! I think that hydrangea was a great bargain. Can't wait to see how it does. Plant it close to the house so you can water it easily. Congrats on all your new purchases. You too have a great weekend.

  10. My goodness you got some unbelievable bargains!! I would have picked up those too. I also went mum shopping at Lowblaws and bought 3 mums for me (yellow, rust and mauve), 2 for my daughter (red and cream) and 1 for my daughter-in-law (deep purple).
    Berry good for all!!

  11. Hi Rose ~ I was away so I am catching up on my reading. Your "berry" photos are great. I love finding fruits and berries growing in the fall. And you found some great bargains. Who can resist those Mums. They are just mounds of color.

  12. I just knew you would get one of those ferns! They are so beautiful and such a great price, who could resist!? I'm still trying to decide where to put mine. The mums are the nicest I've seen so far this year and also the best price. Okay, now I want to go to Pairie Gardens next week. The hydrangea you bought is lovely and you know that is on my wish list too. We cam justify buying more plants now-just think of the money we will be saving. If we buy them next spring they will NOT be such a great price.

    I liked your berries and have looked here but I have none. A situation that needs to be remedied.

  13. Berries and bargains -- two of my favorite things. :) That lantana is so beautiful. I love that color combination, and the berries really are a bonus!

  14. we all have bargains we can't resist especially at the garden centers. you made some great choices and it will be fun to all those mums during the fall.

  15. Joy, Maybe my yews are getting ready for Christmas:) Big Daddy does sound like he's going to be a big one, but yes, it will probably take a few years. Sometimes it's hard to be patient!

    Joyce, Sorry to be a plant enabler:) But if you are planning to buy mums, Danville Gardens has the best ones I've seen and definitely the lowest price.

    Sherry, The mums really say fall, don't they? I always felt a little guilty throwing them out at the end of the season, but last year I planted them and one did survive the winter. So maybe I should buy a few more??

    Neva, My husband hates shopping of any kind, so my garden would be bare if I depended on him:)

    W2W, Thanks for the tips! It will probably have to go inside soon, as temps are supposed to fall next week. I just have to find a big place for it!

  16. Tina, if I had the right place dug up for them, I would go back and buy a lot more hydrangeas. You're right about the water--I've learned that from the Endless Summers that always seem to be thirsty.

    Wendy, They were such a bargain! Now you've got me thinking I should go back and get some for my daughters-in-law, too. All those colors--I just couldn't decide:)

    Cindy, Hope you had a great trip! I had trouble resisting more mums, but my car was full:)

    Beckie, I'm definitely up for a little shopping next week--I'm thinking I should have bought more. Some of the hydrangeas looked like they might have been a little stressed out, but most were healthy. You know I can't resist a sale!

    Nancy, I've discovered lantana is such a great annual. I love the bright pinks and reds, too.

    Marmee, I didn't feel too bad when I got home and totalled up my purchases. Normally, I would have spent twice as much!

  17. I don't have alot of berries in my garden either Rose. Yours are lovely, I didn't realize Yews got berries either. What a bonus! You got some wonderful bargains plant shopping! I say the same thing every year about not buying anymore, lol. We have that in common, but your deals were worth it. You would definitely enjoy a Limelight Hydrangea. It's the easiest & prettiest one in my garden! Love all the great bargain bulbs you found too.

  18. Rose....what a bargain....that fern is stunning and will make a beautiful feature in your home...... and I love the colours of this post....crab apples looking so autumnal....

    Now dear Rose.......yews do have berries....the seed in the centre of the berry is highly poisonous........I have many small yews in my garden......and I cherish them as most English gardeners to. They can be such an incredible feature to any can chop them within an inch of their life and they will come some of our national gardens I have seen beautiful yew hedges sculptured into art forms....cherish your hedge, play with it Rose and make it into something you like...........If all else fails dig it up, and send it to me, because I absolutely love yew hedges........

    A great post and I had much pleasure reading it......

    By the way can't wait to see the bulbs next spring......

  19. Rose, I am suffering from crab apple envy! I have two that have never bloomed. I then started to think I had nothing that berried either, then you showed the lantana, and I do remember that they berry in the fall.

    Oh the sales! How wonderful! I just love a good plant sale! Your mums are lovely, and that fern is a stunner. I can't wait to see the results of all those bulbs next spring!

  20. PG, sometimes I get home from a shopping trip and think, "Oh my, how much money did I spend??" Not this time! I think I may go back and see if they still have a Limelight this week.

    Cheryl, You must think I'm not very observant to not have noticed the yew berries before:) I have to explain why I don't like them--I did a post while you were gone showing all my flowerbeds. The yews are at the back of my main flowerbed and are just huge! They are so overgrown that I just want to pull them out. Maybe I'll try to cut them WAY back as you suggest. If it doesn't work, it would convince my husband to pull them out:) I wish I could send them to you...

    Morning Glories, I love my flowering crabs! In the spring they are a glorious pink and red; I hope yours bloom next year.

  21. Yew berries are fun. They look more Christmasy than fall. Isn't it funny how spending money on bargains we count how much we saved as opposed to how much we spent? I can't resist a bargain either and yours looks great.

  22. Hi Rose, what a berry nice post. The few berries you have are lovely since I like any kind of berry -- anytime. AND yes, you DID get some bargains. I fell in love with the lime light hydrangea when visiting the mountains a few weeks ago- took lots of pictures and brought home a small bouquet of them. They are really fabulous... only wish they could grow here.

    I like the foliage on the one you brought home. Funny, I am constantly pulling out boston fern from my garden trying to eradicate it since it will take over with its underground runners spreading like crazy. You won't have that problem with a hanging plant.

    Don't feel badly about your plant shopping... I can't quit stopping in to my local nursery... always I'm picking a little something here and there... it's the nature of a gardener right?... We just can't help it.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  23. I had to run out and check for berries in my garden, after reading your post, because you made me think. I feel quite guilty, now, for cutting down that pyracantha, which was out of control. It did have wonderful berries.

    I have some nice, large berries on my rosa rugosas, but none on my spotted laurel, yet. Perhaps it's too early. Half of my large fuchsia always develops something that looks like berries, to me. I'm not sure whether they count, but they always look interesting at this time of year.

    I love hostas. I hope that you succeed in fending off the slugs. Love the mums you bought and the bird bath looks very stylish, actually!

  24. Hydrangea 50% off. They never go on sale here. I would be all over that sale;)

    Enjoyed seeing your berries and all your new loot.

  25. I love a well-grown Yew. The problem is that so few of them are well grown. They are beautiful trees when allowed to assume their natural proportions. It's so unfair that the Yew berries are poisonous, yet the stupid deer suffer no ills from chomping on the one Yew in the garden that I like!
    I wonder if the yellow Lantana is a sterile hybrid? And yes, crabapples count as berries, but I forgot to include them in my berry post.
    Good Hosta choice! I have frequently looked at & almost bought Northern Exposure, but I always remember that I don't have room for such a huge one. Thanks for the link love!
    Beautiful autumn color on the new Hydrangea! If you want it to bloom next year, you'll need to protect it.

  26. Well what "bloomin bargains" you did get..I love the 50% signs myself especially this time of year when green houses must get rid of their summer stock! Berries.. all I have this year is the holly poor neglected garden.
    I gather pines cones too from under the trees..if you have a wood burning fireplace toss them in!

  27. Sorry to say there are never many bargains here... even the local grocery has imported more plants (at regular prices). hmpfh.
    But I enjoyed your shopping trip! You found some great bargains and I had fun "going along!" ;-)

  28. Sarah, The yews do look Christmasy with the berries on them. You're right about bargains, but I don't feel too guilty about the plant bargains. Clothes bargains often wind up in the back of my closet, seldom worn.

    Meems, I've seen the limelight on many posts this summer as well as in some "real" gardens and agree they're beautiful. I'm just going to have to find a place for one--funny, too, how we always find a place for just one more plant:)

    Mean Mom, I don't have many berries compared to most people; I'm jealous that you have a fuschia:) I've been very lucky with hostas--the slugs don't seem to bother mine.

    Marnie, I'm kicking myself for not buying more...

    MMD, Cheryl suggested I really trim back the yews to a smaller size--I may try that. I like them, but they're too darned big for where they are. When you say I should protect the hydrangea, do you mean mulch around it for the winter, or something more?

    Nature Girl, your garden probably has been neglected, but the past month of traveling has been well worth it, I'm sure:)

    Shady Gardener, I think I just happened to be in the right place at the right time! Thanks for visiting:)

  29. Lovely post and photos, Rose. I felt as though I went shopping with you, how fun (you could have saved the $5 since I would have given you one of my outdoor ferns, way too huge to bring indoors).

  30. Rose, I'm a plant sale junkie, too. I'm busy with hydrangea cuttings right now--I don't have limelight, but I'm thinking abot getting little one, they grow fast here--anyway, I hope to have 6 or so by spring. Happy planting, and sorry my comments hve bee so sporadic--work's taking over.

  31. Your combination berries and plant enabling post had a double message, Rose - it's time to take berry photos and go buy more stuff!

    I think the yews come in both male and female plants and the ones with the berries are the females. Used to see that with asparagus plants, too.

    Good luck with the macrophylla hydrangea. You're sure right about the watering needs. My $5 bargain baby is barely alive - it wants rain and cooler weather just like the Austin gardeners do.

    The holly berries are still green here so my berry post sits in draft, waiting for more photos.

    Have fun planting everything!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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