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The beautyberry shrub is an unusual shrub with long, arching branches producing many small pink flowers, usually in August. It has yellow-green fall foliage. However, its most eye-catching features are the clusters of glossy, iridescent purple berries that cover the branches after the leaves fall following a hard frost.

The berries are an important food source for 40 species of birds. They can also be used in teas, jelly and wine. Beautyberry berries have been used for medicinal purposes for many years, but only consumed in very small quantities.

The beautyberry shrub is a good understory bush, and it prefers moist soil. It can be propagated by softwood cuttings. It will grow from one to two metres high and can be pruned severely to 30 centimetres from the base just before the new spring growth appears. Pruning will keep it more compact. There are several different varieties.

I have five bushes, which the birds feast on during the winter.

Marlene’s gardening tip: To organize your plant tags, punch a hole in them and hang them on a shower curtain ring or in a three ring binder.

The Dunnville Horticultural Society meets on the third Thursday of the month in the Dunnville Optimist Hall, 101 Main St. E. For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page under Dunnville Horticultural Society. Our president, Deb Zynomirski, can be reached by email at debzyn@gmail.comor by phone at 416-566-9337.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

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