DECORATIVE BARBERRY IN THE MOSCOW REGION - THE BEST VARIETIES
Many times I admired with admiration the festive fireworks and fireworks in the night sky of Moscow and other cities and decided to create something similar at my dacha, but without the involvement of dangerous pyrotechnics. Fortunately, the modern choice of plants allows you to dream up any theme in the garden. My fireworks every day, especially in the fall, create barberries of various types and varieties.
GRENADIERS, DEFENDERS AND JUST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
The story begins from common barberry (berberis vulgaris) variety Purpurea (Purpurea). In the now distant 90s, when I was carrying a long whip with crimson leaves and impressive thorns to my new dacha, people along the way were keenly interested in what it was I was dragging (back then, in principle, varietal shrubs were not sold).
This long-lived bush is alive and well to this day, turned into an absolutely round two-meter ball, bestowing edible and healthy “sweets” of berries in the fall. It’s an excellent addition to pilaf and a pleasure to brew into tea. To contrast with it, I planted the green-leaved barberry (species). But both bushes of common barberry suffer from powdery mildew and rust from time to time (pine trees grow nearby - carriers of diseases), so I decided to plant an indestructible type of barberry - Ottawa.
Ottawa barberry (B. ottawensis) - a hybrid obtained by crossing common barberry with Thunberg barberry. Ottawa inherited the features of both parents: it is famous for its guard height of up to 3 m and crown diameter of up to 2 m, regular spherical shape and large burgundy-colored leaves. The branches of an adult plant are arched and hang picturesquely almost to the ground from the height of the bush's grenadier growth. The purple-red hue of the leaves can change - it may lighten or darken, depending on the time of year. In May, the bush blooms with clusters of bright golden flowers with red spots and a strong spicy aroma that attracts bees and bumblebees.
During the flowering of my barberry bushes in May, I always remember the expression “fool my head.” I don’t like a strong, intrusive aroma; I try to stay away from my blooming beauties. You won’t get very close to them also because before you have time to approach, you’ll be tenaciously grabbed by huge, tough thorns. Therefore, my Ottawa barberries grow in the hedge around the perimeter of the dacha, protecting the space from uninvited intrusion. In autumn and throughout winter, the bushes are decorated with ruby pendants of edible berries.
I planted two varieties Ottawa barberry - Superba and Silver Miles. The most impressive is the Superba. He reached a height of 2 m, and took this barrier easily - in 5 seasons. The size of the spherical crown has reached almost 2 m. The color of the leaves is unusual - a bluish tint similar to beetroot. At the same time, Superba changes its color in the autumn season, becoming lighter and acquiring an orange tint. The fruits ripen by mid-autumn: they are edible and sour in taste. The shrub is not susceptible to diseases and pests.
My favorite is the variety Silver Miles. It grows slowly, but can reach a height of 2 m. However, the nursery told me that such dimensions will only be achieved after 8-10 years of growth. So let's wait, sir! But the variety differs from its relatives in the unique color of its leaves. If you look at the plant from a distance, it seems that the bush is colored purple. In fact, the flower races of the bush are completely heterogeneous. Upon closer inspection, you can see that on the surface of the leaves there are various stripes, spots and streaks of silver-gray and pink.
ONE, TWO, THREE - BARBERRY BURN!
Having quickly realized that, in general, barberry is a plant suitable in all respects for a lazy gardener, that is, for me, I began to collect a collection of another colorful variety of this genus - Thunberg barberry. This is where your eyes are filled with fantastic colors throughout the season and it’s difficult to choose among dozens of varieties with different dimensions and crown shapes!
Barberry Thunberg (V. thunbergii) - a thorny deciduous shrub with a height of 40 cm to 2 m with various crown shapes and foliage colors. The species shrub has small, bright green leaves that turn bright orange or red in the fall. There is a form of Aurea with golden foliage, which is not winter-hardy enough in the middle zone. I had several attempts: the young Aurea bush froze, I planted a new one - and the same story. Since I am not going to cover the barberry for the winter, I had to abandon the plant. Instead, I planted yellow-leaved varieties - a meter high vertical Golden Torch and golden variety with a slight pink blush in autumn Maria.
Dwarf varieties did not take root in my garden: cushion-shaped Bagatelle with a brownish-bronze tint, purple Little Favorite (Little Favorite), red-leaved Crimson Pygmy, green-leaved summer Kobold, which turned red and yellow in autumn. They practically lie in branches on the ground, got wet during the winter thaws, and in the summer they were covered with powdery mildew and eventually died. Dwarf barberries have a place on a dry hill among the pebbles, but I don’t have an alpine hill, so I no longer mess with kids.
But the medium-sized bushes showed themselves very well: a 60-centimeter ball Atropurpurea Nana with red leaves, same size Coronita with dark red leaves edged with a green stripe, 70 cm with orange leaves and shoots, Darts Red Lady - a spherical bush about 80 cm with dark red leaves that turn yellow in autumn.
Large varieties are generally a gift for a summer resident! The choice among them is very rich; every year I put newcomers to test. The least winter-hardy was the 2-meter Red Chief, but she chose a place protected from the wind for him, and he stopped getting very frosty in winter. The Auri-coma variety has reached 2 m and grows in a neat ball. The leaves are rounded, teardrop-shaped, large, purple-red. The color does not change depending on the season. The berries are large, sour, edible, do not fall off and remain red on the bush all winter.
Two meter Red Roket with red-orange large leaves changes color in the fall to fiery orange, just like flashes of flame! Orange Rocket grows vertically, reaching 120 cm, amazes the eye with red-orange foliage all season. He is echoed Red Pillar – A 1-meter bush with red leaves of a purple hue, which turn scarlet in the fall, like a pioneer tie. The grenadier species Golden Ring reaches almost 5 meters in height (for this some botanists classify it as an Ottawa barberry), and is marked by dark purple leaves with a wide yellow border. In autumn its foliage turns into a bright red shawl.
The green-leaved variety I bought as a ground cover did not disappoint me either. Green Carpet. Its name translates as “green carpet,” but in the very first autumn it gave off such a glow from the arched branches in scarlet-red, orange and gold hues that this 1-meter rainbow took your breath away.
A high level of decorativeness is inherent in varieties with variegated foliage throughout the season. My favorites - Rose Glow with pink spots on burgundy leaves, similar to it Harlequin, a plant up to 120 cm in diameter with red shoots and red leaves in white and pink stains. Pink Queen is a spreading bush up to 120 cm in diameter. Its brown foliage is streaked with pink, red and gray, turning into a blanket of crimson in the fall.
The varieties are tested by our difficult climate with its annual vagaries. Admiration, Cherry Bomb, Erecta, Golden Dream, Golden Ruby, Kelleriis, Kornik, Silver Beauty.
Reference by topic: Edible species of barberry and its application
BARBERIS: PLANTED AND FORGOT
So when I buy seedlings in containers, I plant them throughout the season.
I once had to transport from one dacha to another the Thunberg species green-leaved barberry and the Gold Harmony variety with bare roots, but I kept it in a bucket of water for several hours before transporting it, wrapped it in wet newspapers, wrapped it in large cellophane, and when planting ( a few days after digging!) soaked the roots again with a growth stimulator and planted. He settled in well, did not get sick and was not capricious.
This plant is very unpretentious, tolerates heat and drought well, but will not last long in flooded areas. Loves full sun; in partial shade the foliage loses its colorful shades. Green-leaved varieties thrive in partial shade. Barberries tolerate transplanting and pruning well and quickly grow new shoots. Mature bushes need to remove old branches, and in general, all dried and broken branches need to be cut off to the stump. By the way, in variegated varieties, variegation is clearly manifested precisely on young shoots. If the bush likes everything about you, it does not suffer from anything and is not susceptible to pest invasion. However, pests avoid barberry anyway. But under unfavorable weather conditions and damp weather, powdery mildew can attack. If it attacks the beauties very strongly, it is necessary to sprinkle the crowns with soda ash or milk (kefir) whey.
Barberries are a godsend for a hedge, border or solitaire planting. They easily get along with any shrubs and perennials, they look good all season long, but especially in the fall, right up to serious frosts, they give off such fireworks and salutes that you can only marvel! Therefore, a deep bow to the experimenters who have already received and continue to create new varieties and forms of such a diverse representative of the flora.
© Author: A. MALAKHOVA
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