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Next spring, plant a 'holiday berry patch' with white, red and purple berries

Small, round and white berries hang in clusters from branches with deep green leaves.
Iva Vagnerova
Snowberry bushes produce clusters of small white berries on their branches. Growing snowberries, along with holly and other berry-producing trees and shrubs, gives you lots of options for natural decorative materials.

A small patch of colorful, ornamental berry bushes could elevate your holiday decorating game next year.

By planting certain ornamental berry bushes and shrubs this coming spring and summer, you'll be ahead of the game next fall and winter.

Not only will they look great in your landscape, a stand of decorative berry bushes and shrubs means you'll have beautiful, brightly-colored berries to use for holiday decorating.

A few decorative berry bushes

Look for berry bushes that will grow well in our climate, plus ones that will boast a variety of colorful berries, from red to white, pink, coral and more.

One of the stars of the holiday berry patch is holly. To grow holly berry bushes successfully, you'll need a male and female plant, so having a number of different varieties will solve that.

And holly bushes go beyond traditional red berries. The holly variety 'Winter Gold' has yellow berries, and a dwarf variety called 'Little Goblin' even grows orange berries.

Another decorative native berry is the symphoricarpos, or snowberry — named so because of its white fruit. This flowering plant grows 4-5 feet tall and wide, and its branches cascade down with white berries.

A pink version of the snowberry is called coralberry, and the 'Proud Mary' variety grows to 3 feet tall.

One decorative shrub that grows berries in a stunning color is known as the beautyberry, or callicarpa.

It's a shrub that grows to 3 or 4 feet tall with vivid purple berries all along the stem. The beautyberry isn't hardy in all areas around our region; grow it in protected spots or in the valleys.

Roses and crab apples can provide colorful fruits, too

Along with berry trees and shrubs, some other plants can be decorative in the landscape and used for their boughs and branches, like roses.

If you grow rose bushes and are used to snipping off the hips, save some to use for decorations later in the season! Rose hips come in red, orange and yellow.

And crab apple trees have small berries that can be very decorative. Look for the 'Prairifire' variety, with its small, purplish berries.

Another plus is that these berries nourish lots of different pollinators and are edible for many types of birds. The deer, however, will leave them alone.

This spring and summer, plant these trees and shrubs in one area to create your own holiday decorative berry patch! Beautiful and colorful natural elements will be right at your fingertips to decorate with next year.

Q: Hi Charlie, I planted asparagus last season, and the plants did well this year. I realize that I probably should not have harvested them, as it may be best to let them grow to their full height in the first three years. I'm wondering about the cutting back of the ferns. One year I cut them, then later I learned that it is best to not cut the ferns so that the plant has energy for the winter. Which one is right? - Kyle, in Waterbury

A: The good news is that harvesting the asparagus most likely did not harm the plant, though it may have stunted it a bit.

As far as cutting back the ferns, you should cut those to keep the asparagus beetle at bay.

After the ferns have turned a golden color, sometime in November and December, go ahead and cut them down to a couple of inches off the ground and remove them. By doing this, you'll be removing some of those insects at the same time.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, our audience! Send us your toughest conundrums and join the fun. Submit your written question via email, or better yet, leave a voicemail with your gardening question so we can use your voice on the air! Call Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

Listen to All Things Gardening Sunday mornings at 9:35 a.m., and subscribe to the podcast to listen any time.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.