I was going to take you into my greenhouse today, in fact I’ve been meaning to do a greenhouse blog for ages, but Cathy at Rambling in the Garden is celebrating the 7th anniversary of her meme ‘In a Vase on Monday’ and so I had to put something together to join in with her celebration. Her challenge today is to create a vase with no flowers and it is a great time of the year to enjoy seeds and fruits or drupes. They come in such an abundance of shapes and colours and they give so much pleasure in the autumn garden. My apple crop has been phenomenal this year and now the ones that are still lying around and rotting are creating a glut for wasps and butterflies. it has been so mild that I still have red admiral butterflies around.
I didn’t have much time to get the material together because it was getting dark but here is what I picked. For berries I chose some lovely, shiny purple Callicarpa bodinieri, nothing else has berries in just this colour, except perhaps for the climber Akebia quinata which sometimes has a strange, pulpy fruit in pale lilac. As we are talking about autumn fruit I have to show it to you. I read that it is edible, but somehow I don’t quite fancy it.
But back to the callicarpa berries, I think they would make a gorgeous necklace.
The red lozenge-shaped berries are Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’. I grow a few barberries for their lovely leaf colour but I grow one specially for the gorgeous fruit and it is the rare Berberis georgei. If I was going to make jewellery out of this one, it would be dangly earrings.
I grow another rare berberis for the beautiful blue leaves in summer. It is called Berberis temolaica.
Now the blue leaves have turned a lovely red colour. They make a nice contrast with the evergreen, vareigated Pittospermum tenuifolium ‘Elizabeth’.
I used two different types of fluffy pennisetum grasses. Penisetumm villosum is white and Pennisetum alopecuriodes has brown heads and makes a larger plant.
So far we have red and purple berries, but can you spot the pink ones? This is euonymus, I’m not sure which variety, as I grew it from a seed which fell into my pocket. It could be Euonymus hamiltonianus. I have several in different colours but this is my favourite.
I have used a yellow fruit from Chaenomeles japonica.
Some people call these fruit quinces but the real quince is a tree Cydonia oblonga and it has much larger fragrant fruit and beautiful blossom in spring.
The little brown fruit in my arrangement is the rather peculiar medlar. This is apparently edible if you blet it which really means letting it go rotten. I have never been tempted to eat it, but it makes a pretty little tree with lovely blossom.
I am crazy about crab apple trees and I have bought several new ones for my piece of reclaimed garden. The largest one I have is ‘Golden Hornet which was here when we came and it is enormous. If you like crab apples with yellow fruit I would go for ‘Comtessa de Paris’ which has persistent fruit which doesn’t go brown.
I have used a fruit from my little Malus ‘Evereste’ in the arrangement.
The large fruit on the table is from one of my new crab apples and it is called ‘Jelly King’, it is quite a new introduction and I think it is the best of the large fruited varieties. It is supposed to be good for crab apple jelly but I’d rather have the fruit on the tree. And anyway, I really can’t be bothered to mess about making crab apple jelly, life is far too short.
Three of my other favourite crab apples are Malus transitora which has loads of small bead -like yellow fruit and I grew mine from seed so I know it is one of the few which come true from seed. Malus ‘Cardinal’ has gorgeous pink blossom and lovely red fruit.
Ok, you haven’t got all day, I’ll just show you just one more crab apple which I bought in the early spring and enjoyed its beautiful white blossom. It is called ‘Malus ‘Wedding Bouquet’. The little red fruit persist well into December.
I really meant to include some sorbus berries but I forgot and it is too dark to go down the garden and get some now. So I will show you a picture of my favourite one at the moment. I have a couple of new ones but they are too small to look very good yet. I also have some seed grown ones, so I am looking forward to seeing how they turn out.
So there we have it, all the lovely fruit in my vase and quite a bit that would have been in there if I had had more time. These early, dark afternoons rather creep up on you. I have used a brown Hornsea pottery jam pot which I bought many years ago at Hornsea. I thought the colour is nice and autumnal.
Congratulations Cathy, on seven years of bringing pleasure to so many people with your Monday vases. A vase without flowers is a good way of celebrating the autumn garden.