Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Fall is a time of plenty. We don’t have to look far for ideas and suitable floral materials. There is a rich abundance of fruits and berries. Let’s look at just a few of these delightful pods and berries. Part II of this two-part series will continue next week.
One of the most unusual doesn’t come from a bush or tree. Rather, it is produced by a particular kind of iris. This plant goes by various names, including Gladwin iris, Gladdon iris, and Gladwyn iris (Iris foetidissima.)
In the cutting garden, this grows well in all kinds of conditions from full sun to full shade. As a matter of fact it will even grow in dry shade.
This iris is recommended for cutting gardens in zones 5 through 10. Reaching about two feet in height, it eventually forms a large clump. For that reason, space them about 1˝ to two feet apart so they will have plenty of room.
During the fall months, the seed pods split open to reveal the delightful orange to red seeds. These appear at the top of the old flower stalks. They make a wonderful dried everlasting. The round seeds are so eye catching.
In addition to the species plant, there are several other varieties that bear yellow, and dark red seeds.
This beardless iris tends to have leaves that are mostly evergreen. It is from the foliage that the plant earned its Latin name, which means fetid, in reference to the ill smelling odor given off by the leaves when they are crushed.
Originally native to southern Europe, this iris has rather inconspicuous blooms that are grayish-purple. These open in June. For the most part, this iris is cultivated mostly for its seed pods, which are greatly prized by floral designers.
Many people are doubtless familiar with the common dogwood berries. The ones that are seen most often in the East are the white flowering dogwood. The berries appear in very loose clusters or bunches. They ripen to scarlet red. They’re so well liked by birds and wildlife that they may disappear before you have a chance to cut any stems for floral designs.
The bunchberry dogwood has particularly attractive bunches of fruits. Less than a foot tall, this native is a petite evergreen. It is hardy to zone three or so. Typically, it is found in eastern North America and parts of eastern Asia. During the late summer and fall, the fruits are borne in bunches.
Kousa dogwood is now gaining popularity as a landscape plant. That’s a good thing for floral designers will love working with these unusual berries. Kousa is also known as the Chinese or Japanese dogwood. This is most suited to zones five through seven. Its dangling fruits are quite unlike those of other dogwoods. The large, dull red berries resemble a raspberry or blackberry more than a dogwood. For the best fruit production, you really need to plant more than one Kousa tree to allow for pollination. These berries ripen in late summer.
Of the other shrubs, the pyracanthas are well worth growing for their berries. They can be used in floral designs. Be very careful when you work with these stems. These plants have really wicked thorns. Typically, the fruits are orange or scarlet.
Part II will continue next week.