In a Vase on Monday – Berry Good

Signs of the approaching seasonal shift are unmistakable in South Florida. I heard the first Sand Hill Crane returning for winter this week (these are large birds with a very distinctive call, they look like pterodactyls flying by and summer in Nebraska) Purple Beautyberries are another sign. It seems odd to me that the berries ripen in August here. In my former much further north garden I had to wait until November for about a quarter of the amount of berries produced in Florida. Another odd thing about the Florida berries, the birds don’t really eat that many and I am not sure why – fear of stalking greyhounds? Anyway, my conscience is clear about stealing bird food.

All of the plants in this vase are native to Florida. Two I planted and two appeared, spread by wildlife no doubt.

The peach spike flowers are Tropical Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea), the flowers made peach by bees. I planted the red variety years ago and now have several colors. The white daisies are Bidens alba, not planted by me, and asked for the most part to leave the garden. These cute little flowers can produce 1200 seeds per plant and get out of hand quickly. The ferns, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) are native to Florida, not Boston and appeared in the edging of our shell driveway. I leave them alone and cut them sometimes for vases. The vase came from the florist filled with professionally grown flowers!

I planted the Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) several years ago. I bought three and planted them in places with differing amounts of shade. To my surprise, the one with the most sun produces these huge sprays of berries. This time of year Floridians post their Beautyberry recipes on social media. They make jam, jelly and bread with the berries. Invariably, someone says these are so pretty but they don’t really have a flavor.

Here is a bread recipe and review. Evidently, Peggy wrote the recipe, though I am not sure who that is. I clipped it thinking I might give it a try, then read the review. Still considering it, but I think this is one of those things I would find in the freezer a few years from now and have to throw away.

Thanks to Cathy at for hosting iAVOM. To see more vases, follow the link.

Happy Gardening and I am berry much looking forward to fall!


16 comments on “In a Vase on Monday – Berry Good

  1. You answered my question about buying Beautyberry plants. The ones I see are wild and growing in the woods. I have not seen any in nurseries, but haven’t looked that hard. The ones I see in catalogs are a dark purple color, not the color of yours and our wild ones, which I like better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Annette says:

    This is so pretty, Amy, I can’t get over the berries! So many to a stem. I have two different callicarpa (Profusion and the other one must be japonica) and this year I’ve noticed that the voles have attacked their rootballs, not good. Didn’t know you could eat them too (not that I’d have enough to eat ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), thanks for the info and the recipe. Do the shrubs cope well with drought in Florida?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Noelle says:

    I had to look up those Cranes so admire their calls and their flight on their migration so many thanks for mentioning them. Your vase full of local wild flowers is a real beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautiful arrangement! Sandhills already, wow. I’ve noticed early migrants passing through the past week or so. I think the drought here is making them head out early, but maybe not. Fall color is already on some of the trees. Last night I saw about 20 nighthawks flying over, right on time, however.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Eliza. Fall color? I think drought causes that to be early. The trees are tired. I have ceased watering almost everything. The Lemmoni Marigolds from Arizona that supposedly need water once a month are wilting! Heavy rain is forecast here at the end of the week, Fingers crossed.


  5. Cathy says:

    I was just thinking that your season must be moving on when I saw the callicarpa, so smiled when read it was one of your indicators! Those cranes must be an astonishing sight to see! Can’t say the bread appeals to me either, and Just because something is edible doesn’t mean to say we have to eat it, of course – although in the absence of anything else I would be gobbling them with everybody else! I really like the vertical focus in this vase, and those ferns work so well with the callicarpa which look as pretty as ever…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kris P says:

    I didn’t know you can also eat beautyberries! Not that I’d probably bake them into bread or make jam of them anyway when I could use them in vases but still that’s cool. We’ve had 3 mornings in a row with a strong marine layer and cooler temperatures, which also had me thinking that it felt like fall is in the offing. However, September and October can be brutally hot and dry here so I’m trying not to get too excited.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tonytomeo says:

    I dunno. Beautyberry sure is pretty, which is why I got some. However, that color does not look like something that should be eaten.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cathy says:

    The berries do look rather tempting, but I would agree – the review of the recipe would not motivate me to bake with them. How about freezing some in ice cubes for decoration in drinks? ๐Ÿ˜‰


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