Garden Photo of the Day

Seeds and Berries

What comes after the flowers is sometimes the best part

Hi GPODers, today it is your editor, Joseph, sharing some photos.

In looking through photos recently, I noticed some of my favorite shots of seeds and berries on plants. Flowers are of course beautiful, and foliage is the backbone of the garden, but sometimes what comes after the flowers is what really steals the show.

Japanese beautyberry Heavy BerryJapanese beautyberry ‘Heavy Berry’ (Callicarpa japonica ‘Heavy Berry’, Zones 5–8) is well named. The berries are indeed beautiful, and the production of them is HEAVY. I saw this specimen at Norfolk Botanic Gardens and was just blown away.

Winterberry holliesWinterberry hollies (Ilex species and hybrids, Zones 5–9) are also tops for berry display. Because they drop their leaves, unlike typical evergreen hollies, they show off their brilliant berries even better. They look fantastic in the landscape (before the birds devour them) and are great for cutting to display in the house as well.

rose hipsRoses are the unsung berry heroes. Their fruits, called hips, are beautiful and last a very long time into the winter. Not all rose hybrids make lots of hips, but those that do are a beautiful addition to the landscape.

gladiolus seedsSometimes the beauty of a seed head surprises me. This is a stem of gladiolus seeds. I never much thought about gladiolus seeds, and I generally deadhead them, but I let this one go to seed, and the brown pods split open to reveal beautiful golden, papery seeds that glow when the sun catches them.

trifoliate orangeAnother surprising fruit is the trifoliate orange (Citrus trifoliata, Zones 6–11), which is by far the most cold hardy citrus, growing as far north as Zone 5 in sheltered spots. The fruits it produces are bitter and not good to eat, but they have a wonderful fresh citrus smell. When I worked in Japan, my coworkers collected the fruits and floated them in a hot bath to perfume the water and—they said—to help ward off colds.

American strawberry bushI see the American strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus, Zones 6–9) growing in the woods now and again where I live in Virginia, and I always love seeing this little native shrub decorated with brilliant pink-and-orange fruits.

By the way, winter is always the slow time for GPOD submissions, so if you’ve been thinking about it, now’s a great time to share your photos! Shots of your garden in winter are great, but it is also always fun to see photos that look back at favorite garden moments from the warmer months of the year.


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View Comments


  1. Rebeccazone7 01/08/2021

    This reminded me of "Beauty Berry", which I had totally forgotten about. Years ago I struggled with it, as our weather was much colder. Also, this is a reminder that all seasons have their beauty...pun intended. Thanks for sharing these photos. We all need to be reminded of natural beauty in these extraordinarily difficult times.

  2. User avater
    pattyeckels 01/08/2021

    Thank you for your post. Love the rose hips.

  3. nwphillygardener 01/08/2021

    I was hoping to see photos of what may be the showiest berries that persist in winter here in Zone 7m, the taller form of Nandina domestic, sometimes called Heavenly Bamboo. The large sprays of red berries compliment foliage that is often tinged with burgundy tones. For me, it's the most valuable asset of this shrub.

  4. cynthia2020 01/08/2021

    Hi, Joseph. I especially like the photo of the rose hips. And I have never seen a beauty berry loaded down like the one in your photo!

    By the way, your book, The Complete Guide to Gardeners - The Plant Obsessed and How to Deal with Them, by Joseph Tychonievich - was mentioned in the comments section of the NYT article "It’s a New Year in the Garden, Too: Time for Some Resolutions," by Margaret Roach, Jan. 6, 2021.

  5. btucker9675 01/08/2021

    Have never seen an American Strawberry bush and am now in love! Also, the beautyberry and the winterberry hollies and rose hips - so wonderful. I had a couple of old rose bushes in my previous garden in northern NJ that were prolific hip producers and loved them in the winter, as did the birds! Thank you for sharing these terrific photos.

  6. User avater
    simplesue 01/08/2021

    Beautiful photos! And amazingly all colorful seeds!

  7. schatzi 01/08/2021

    Joseph - I mentioned your book title to my husband and his reply was "I think I have a pretty good idea - let her do what she wants!" Works for me!

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