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#BotanistLens: Buds and Berries, shielding the fragile

Cold days or gusty winds don't seem to bother most buds and berries. Brightening up the dormant woodland gardens currently, are the silvery clusters of Edgeworthia buds, bright burgundy buds of Skimmia japonica and many red berries.

Edgeworthia chrysantha is one of the best winter interest shrubs. It is deciduous but the bare branches are loaded with abundant silvery white buds in winter that are unlike any other. Edgeworthias are early spring bloomers and like Daphne, fragrant enough to smell from a distance. If you notice closely, the buds are covered with fine silky hairs, maybe its best defense mechanism? The silky hairs on the buds seem to make them glow in light but, what is aesthetic to us might be a deterrent to animals to protect the fragile inner flower parts.

Skimmia japonica, is another unique winter garden shrub that is now coming into the trend in retail nurseries. Very undervalued for its potential, this evergreen shrub has a good height, waxy leaves, sturdy flower heads ad very attractive red berries to make this shrub a complete a year round winner. The burgundy buds are waxy and tightly closed protecting the fragile flower parts. Their unique color and shinny coating make them aesthetic, but probably not so appealing to animals foraging for food. The red berries on the other hand are shouting out bright colors, trying to be attractive to be eaten or picked and dropped.

You can find more information on Skimmia at

Buds (flower or leaf) and berries provide a function that is very crucial in the plants life cycle. They withstand weather changes, undergo dormancy and stay put until it is the right time to open up. In the case of buds, the longer they can protect the flower parts, the longer the plant has a chance of producing fruits and seeds. In case of berries, the longer they can stay dormant and the more attractive they are, the higher the chance of the success of the last stage, seed dispersal.

-Meenal Harankhedkar, Director of Horticulture.

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