Berberis come in all sizes and shapes, from big trees like B. valdiviana down to little miniature shrubs like some of the tiny B. thunbergii cultivars. Some are evergreen, some are deciduous, some have spikes while others have bristly leaves. They are a diverse lot in their way, and even though their flowers are individually quite small they often produce a good display in orange, yellow or pink (B. ‘Cally Rose’).
Berberis darwinii is overlooked by too many gardeners. Here are seven reasons why you should grow Berberis darwinii:
- It’s reliable. No, really it is! Berberis darwinii has been a gardening staple for many, many years, because it is fairly reliably hardy and will grow happily on all but the wettest or driest soils.
- It flowers very well. Every year, from the end of March onwards, this plant is laden with flowers. The flowers are fairly resilient, so the show is reliable even in wind and rain. Talking of flowers…
- The flowers are much loved by bees. At this point in the spring the honeybees aren’t really very active, but the bumblebees are more than happy to take advantage of any food going! Expect a low ‘hum’ from your Berberis darwinii during daylight hours as maybe hundreds of bumblebees come in search of lunch!
- After the flowers come the fruits. On Berberis darwinii these aren’t particularly big or showy but they are much loved by garden birds.
- This plant is fairly common, which means it’s not particularly expensive and you should be able to pick one up in a local nursery without having to send away for it.
- Berberis darwinii is versatile. You can grow it as a hedge or free-standing shrub, and you can prune it if it gets too big (although if you know you’re going to need it to stay small you might prefer to use Berberis darwinii ‘Compacta’ instead).
- If you are one of those people who simply can’t risk having the same plant as someone else then you can look out for the rarer yellow form.
So there we have it, seven reasons to choose Berberis darwinii for your garden!