Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Black berries December 5, 2008

Filed under: shrubs — greenwalks @ 2:06 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sarcococca is one of the hardest-working shrubs suitable for shade that you could hope for. It’s evergreen, puts out cute little red berries in late fall that gradually turn a shiny black, and then in winter sends out stalks of tiny white flowers that perfume their surroundings with a delicate vanilla-y scent.

We had some in a remote spot of our previous garden and I never gave them a second thought. In fact, I admit I found them prosaic and dull, and usually failed to even notice their valiant attempts to provide seasonal interest. In our current space, we inherited a few sizable ones that are poorly sited (i.e. too much sun) and not all that happy – their leaves tend to yellow in the summer and it takes them all year to recover. One of these years, I’m going to get around to moving them to one of our few shady spots, but it didn’t happen this fall. Poor things, I hope they can take it for another year where they are!

Sarcococca berries changing to black

On a linguistically related but otherwise random note, on a whim I bought some freeze-dried blackberries at the food co-op the other day and my daughter, the finicky eater who has now stopped liking fruits in addition to veggies and pretty much everything else except boxed mac & cheese (argh!), LOVES them and delights in popping them in her mouth for a super satisfying sour crunch. I’m not sure what the carbon footprint indications of freeze drying are (maybe someone can enlighten me?), but I have to say that this is a really great way to get my kid to eat fruit in the winter without any preservatives or energy cost from the freezer. I just picked up some freeze-dried strawberries and mangosteen from Trader Joe’s and those have been a hit too. Gotta get our Vitamin C somehow!


6 Responses to “Black berries”

  1. Kim Says:

    You are the first person I’ve ever heard talk about Sarcococca. I had the devil of a time finding them (S ruscifolia) for our garden (the designer I worked with said I MUST have them), but the search finally paid off. I found 5, just what I needed, that had spent 2 years in pots and looked the worse for wear. They still aren’t happy, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to nurse them back with TLC. I can’t wait for the bloom.

    They are lovely plants, aren’t they? We have mostly shade in back, so an evergreen that works in shade is a great thing to have. Keep us posted on how yours do and when you move them.

  2. Megan Says:

    Absolutely a great shrub. I’m just kicking myself for not getting the one I saw at the hardy plant society sale. It was a variety with large, golden leaves. What was I thinking?

  3. Racquel Says:

    What a gorgeous plant. I’ve never heard of it but the berries and little white blossoms make it sound like a keeper to me!

  4. Jen Says:

    I liked reading about your daughter and the berries. What about dried cranberries & raisins — does she like those? I’ll never forget when my daughter ate an entire pint of raspberries while we stood in line at the post office – hey wait! I like em too!

    BTW, I’m gonna look for that pancake mix you use- I think I’ve seen that brand at the grocery store…

  5. Pond Plants Says:

    Oh those look good. I like the boxes around the tress aswell.

  6. kanak Says:

    Hi Karen, these berries resemble the Indian blackberrry. Except that the latter isn’t a shrub. Great photo!

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