Thursday, June 4, 2009

burning v barberry

Burning Bush. I have 2 of these. One small bush under the front bay window, maybe a dwarfed variety. One larger than me in the back on the west side of the garage door. I love the natural shape of the bushes. They sprout what is called a wig, small stems protruding from the bush sprinkled with little white buds. Don't prune. Water to encourage growth, but don't over water. It is obviously maintenance free which is probably why it was planted on this lot.

Now the barberry bush is not so pleasant. It adds wonderful accent colors to the spring and summer landscaping. But I am not sure if the beast of a thorn is worth it for me. Barberry is often planted to deter thieves. It has a brutal poke. The thorns are a short half inch, but sharper than a pin. The dead or trimmed branches are often lurking in the dirt and weeds I work with. It was a deep purple until the heat of summer inspired the plant. Now it is turning green from the inside out. It is a great shaping bush, grows fast and unruly, I think. The young branches are soft; thorns don't harden off for a short while. The wasps love the bush for hiving in. Mid-spring the bushes produced a very small yellow flower which fed the wasps. It even produces a small edible berry. I can't get the vinca and the weeds out from under it. I fear the thorn.

Together the bushes can make a delightful and appealing setting. I love the balance and coloration. At this small stage, the barberry bushes have a fantastic spread. I like the smaller barberry. The symmetry and color focus the eyes onto the burning bush. I really like this setting.

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