Plant of the Week: Pyracantha

I don’t know about you, but it seems that berries have been more prolific than usual this winter. A friend of mine, Sara agreed and told me this year is a “mast” year which essentially means that specific trees produce more pollen than usual which means they end up producing more fruits when the time comes. Everywhere I looked I saw bright red, orange and yellow berries lining the streets and providing their own Christmas decorations.

Beautiful berries but beware of the thorns!

We moved to our new house this summer so I’m still learning the ways of my garden so it was a delightful surprise to be greeted by the orange berries of what I’ve learned is a Chinese Firethorn. It sounds like a Harry Potter broomstick doesn’t it?! Before the berries came, I was going to use some branches for one of my early floristry lessons. I mindlessly went to grab a twig whole-handedly and then I let out a great big yelp! Ouch! The thorns of the pyracantha are like really sharp HB pencils, completely unforgiving and robust. I certainly learned my lesson.

For a few months I hated that bush and resolved to cut it down in the new year, but suddenly these orange bunches of berries started to appear and all was forgiven. They are poisonous for birds to each (and can give us tummy aches) but their flowers produce good nectar for bees and they proved very handy when I’d run out of eryngium for my best-selling wreath this year!

Pyracantha is a good shrub to grow for providing shelter for birds and insects but also for filling unusued spaces. They seem particularly good for shady areas and they love growing against things like fences.

Do you have any berries in your garden? Did you notice the abundance of berries in your town this autumn/winter? I’d love to see your pictures. Do tag me on instagram @florioscity