Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cotinus and Callicarpa

Now that Autumn has arrived, the shrubs in my garden are beginning to attract my interest again, after being eclipsed during the Summer by the vegetables.

One of my favourites is the Cotinus "Royal Purple", whose leaves are a deep purple colour most of the time but turn red, orange and eventually brown in the Autumn:

Cotinus "Royal Purple"

Cotinus "Royal Purple"

The purple foliage of the Cotinus looks really striking next to the bright yellow of the Dogwood "Cornus Alba Aureum".


Cotinus is sometimes colloquially known as "Smokebush", because the fine wispy flowers which appear at the tips of its branches make it look almost as if it is wreathed in smoke (well, if you use your imagination a bit...). This year my Cotinus has produced practically no flowers, so it won't be very smoky.

I'm going to write about the Dogwoods tomorrow, by the way.

Nearby, the Callicarpa bush's berries are turning colour. They are a very pale green to begin with, but gradually turn a blueish purple.


It's a good job that the Callicarpa berries look nice, because the leaves are looking very ragged.


Seen in close-up, the berries are curiously fuzzy:


Callicarpa is a good shrub for providing Winter colour. It is deciduous and when the leaves fall off in the late Autumn the berries (which by this stage are a vibrant shade of purple) are fully revealed and remain in good condition for a long period, at a time when there is often precious little other colour in the garden.

9 comments:

  1. I love that purple one. I have been looking at my shrubs today too and thinking the one in the middle of the yard needs to be cut back, it is shading the little plum and the hazelnuts need to be cut back to. One of them is making the plum grow so that it leans away from it.

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    1. Becky; I know you - you are probably looking at the purple berries and wondering whether you can cook them - or make wine with them! :)

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  2. Replies
    1. Sue; Yes, the birds (usually Blackbirds) do eat the berries eventually, but only when everything else has gone, so presumably they don't taste very nice.

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  3. I'm very short of autumn and winter interest in my garden. It's something which I vow to put right every year, but it ends up being forgotten. I like the berries on the Callicarpa.

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    1. Jo; most shrubs are really worthwhile - good for interest, but very undemanding in terms of maintenance.

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  4. Lovely photo's Mark! I've admired a few local 'smoke bushes' in my new neighborhood. They are lovely and the foliage is amazing! Cheers, Jenni

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  5. Really like the purple! Wonderful color...

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