COLUMN: Enjoy a very berry garden this winter

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October is one of the most colourful times of the year – flowers are still blooming and trees are turning fiery red, yellow and orange.

It is a good time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials as the soil still has some warmth and will help to get them established.

Try and get evergreens planted by the end of the month.

Evergreen shrubs provide structure and form to the garden throughout the year, but many produce early displays of flowers followed by autumn berries.

Berry-bearing trees and shrubs come into their own this month, creating colourful displays that can last well into winter. From elder berries to rose hips, crab apples to Firethorns, the addition of berrying plants adds a new dimension to any garden.

Berrying plants also provide home grown food for hungry birds and wildlife too, who are stocking up for winter.

Trained against walls and fences, Firethorn is a valuable evergreen shrub, its thorny stems make it a great choice for producing secure garden boundaries.

Do not let the spines put you off buying Pyracantha though – they provide valuable nesting sites for birds and their flowers attract bees.

Explore the Cotoneaster family too, attractive ornamental shrubs with year-round appeal that make an excellent choice to carpet banks and low borders or train up to cover bare fences.