Among the jewels of the garden

Ph. Maurizio Feletig

Maurizio Feletig
Azienda Agricola Maurizio Feletig
Arignano (To)

Berries, apples, drupes … so many small coloured jewels among bare branches

An amazing and generous walk

We all know that the first winter days cover landscapes and gardens with frost and certainly do not invite to stroll among the trees and bushes which lost their charm in the cold season. This invitation is however accepted if made by the small purple berries that bend the gray branches of the Callicarpa under their weight: too attractive for not desiring to look at them, and  –  why not? steal a few sprigs to decorate our house.
Not to mention the bright, red, yellow, orange and purple small apples covering every small branch of the sumptuous flower apple trees.
And also the red fleshy drupes hanging copiously from the hawthorn hedges: “condos” for the voracious and useful insectivorous birds.

They give you the feeling of living in a generous environment, where everyone is welcomed, none excluded.

Travel in time and around the world

There are so many plants producing small colourful fruits that decorate them for most of autumn and winter.
Until a few decades ago, they covered the countryside with colourful spots and were used to mark the boundaries between properties, besides serving as refuge and pantry for a heterogeneous and rich wildlife.

Today, in order to make room for mechanisation, only a few bushes of blackthorn remain, heralding the arrival of spring with their precocious and spectacular white bloom (which in autumn offer many small, inedible and tough plums with which an exquisite liqueur is produced!), or some intricate dog rose, whose cherry red hips adorn the bare branches with coloured garlands.

But now, and already for some centuries, thanks to the tireless work of the “plant hunters”(and of the nurserymen, who reproduced, made them known and, through hybridizations, in many cases improved), the complexity and variability that nature offers us is at our complete disposal.

From the Americas and the Far East many new species arrived in Europe featuring unknown and different characteristics, such as the Aronia melanocarpa, a graceful and thick North American shrub, with a very generous white flowering similar to our hawthorn’s one, and with opulent bunches of black and juicy fruits, with which a juice rich in vitamins is produced.

One of its varieties, the Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliant’, is instead covered with small bright red berries contrasting with the purple and golden yellow colours of the autumn foliage.

The branches of Callicarpa dichotoma, a soft and robust bush with a rounded shape, originating from the central regions of China and Japan, are covered with generous bunches of tiny amethyst berries, fascinating like those of Callicarpa dichotoma var. albifructus ones that feature surprisingly milky white fruits.

And finally a plant known almost exclusively because of its generous and repeated blooms: the rose!
Incredible are the forms, the colours and the sizes that its strange fruits, called rosehips, take in the various species.

In addition to our dear, old dog rose, there are Asian species with orange fruits similar to the husks of the horse chestnut tree. such as the Rosa roxburghii plena, a large thick bush perennially provided with very double dark pink flowers, or others of North American origin, such as the Rosa palustris, which can grow even in the most humid soils and that after a very light and surprisingly late pink flowering is covered with pendulous clusters of light orange round fruits, shining on the particular burgundy foliage.

Well, our walk ends here!

We are going home with our arms laden with branches full of colourful fruits, baskets full of fleshy berries ready to be transformed into delicious jellies, and perhaps with the awareness – if it is true, as someone wrote, that a small apple contains an orchard  – of contributing to the enrichment of this mistreated planet.