The shortest day dawns and we can hope the weather improves with increased day length. The country proverb that when the Holly is prolific with berries we will be in for a long hard winter has certainly proved true this year. The Ilex aquifolium through the garden is laden with berries. The plants are dioecious; male and female flowers on different plants. Welcome sustenance for the bird population when the soil is unavailable to peck through for grubs. Flocks of Waxwings have been observed descending on Rowan trees, Sorbus species, devouring the berries.
A vigorous Rose in the Chinese plant collection showing a proliferation of shiny orange hips is Rosa glomerata. Found growing on a steep north facing mountainside at c. 2420 metres in Sichuan Province, China. It climbs through deciduous woodland canopy composed of Sorbus, Acer, Lithocarpus, Pterocarya and Faxinus spp. to 8 metres.