30 January 2012
When planning plants for the garden, I basically think of three things: form, origins and benefit to wildlife. Coralberry, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, seems to fit all three. I've seen gorgeous stands of this arching plant growing at the Wildflower Center, and seen relatives of our coralberry (often snowberries) growing all over the U.S. in parks and wildspaces. It's pretty in summer and in winter when it is full of berries. It also spreads a lot and feeds the birds.
In our own garden, coralberry has not yet lived up to snuff. It has spread around a bit, but it doesn't form the dense lovely thickets that I was hoping for. Nor does it fruit all that much. However, I was happy to find that a small area of coralberry in the far back corner has produced abundant fuchsia berries this year. (It's something I discovered while on my knees weeding.)
I think coralberry probably likes more moisture than I'm likely ever to give it, but perhaps if we have a nice wet year someday, it'll do its thing.