Seasonal Decorating: Wildly Beautiful for the Birds

This past weekend I fashioned a wreath using bittersweet from the woods and American beautyberry stems from the barnyard. If there was ever a shrub whose beauty is under appreciated the American beautyberry is it. During the year visitors to the farm will walk right by the beautyberry and say nary a word. Last weekend we had several guests, and it seemed the most talked about topic was the beautyberry bush. For most of the year, beautyberries sit inconspicuously in the landscape. We have six bushes at last count and my appreciation of them has only gotten better since they were planted. Around November, after the first good frost, the leaves begin to yellow and eventually fall off, leaving long graceful stems with tightly clustered purple berries. I've not seen bittersweet at the farm, but this time of year I keep my eyes trained on the woods where I run because I've learned that it grows therein. On one recent run I came back with some bittersweet in hand. Technically a vine, some would argue that bittersweet is harmful to trees and while that may be true, this time of year the vibrant orange berries are irresistible in floral arrangements and also loved by songbirds. I'm pretty pleased with how the wreath turned out. Of course, the colorful berries will be long gone in a matter of days if the birds get their way. And now that I think about it, the farm belongs to them, too. I think they'll enjoy the feast. Happy Thanksgiving!