Visiting Virginia

The first thing that I did, gardening wise, when I moved to Minnesota from Georgia was to try all of the plants that I had grown to love in the South in the North — hoping beyond hope that perhaps someone had made a mistake when listing the hardiness zones of these plants.  The result was a mess of dead lacebark elms, Japanese maples, and butterfly bushes.  One plant that I did find could live, albeit just barely, was the beautyberry — a purple fruiting shrub that would survive as a perennial in Minnesota, just barely getting up to my knee — just enough to tease me.

Today I’m giving a few talks in Blacksburg VA and visiting fellow GP Holly Scoggins.  She runs the Hahn gardens here and has some truly beautiful specimens of many plants that I covet, beautyberry among them.  I am so jealous of people who live in the South and can grow this stuff to its full potential!

In this photo I share a beer with a large, lush beautyberry.  I think it might have been more impressed by a higher caliber beer. 

3 thoughts on “Visiting Virginia”

  1. I love beautyberry too. Don’t worry, Jeff — she is a cheap date. PBR suits her just fine. Someone once told me “If you can propagate forsithia, you can propagate beautyberry.” In some areas here below the Mason-Dixon, it is considered a minor invasive. Too bad. I have a few in my garden but pay attention to what is popping up in the woods. I haven’t seen any strays yet.

  2. I have a beautyberry in my MN garden. I haven’t been too happy with it. It’ll only grow up to my knees just like you said. I barely get any purple berries to even notice it. I haven’t decided whether to keep it or get rid of it.

  3. Jeff:
    Beautyberry is mostly a die-back shrub in my yard near East Lansing. Depending on the winter/site I’ll get some above-ground survival, especially if we have a good snow year (my plow driver pushes the snow pile on top of them). But usually I just prune at ground level and let them come back.

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