Friday, December 19, 2008

Nova Scotia Wild Berry Bushes

Winterberry HollyI like to go "au naturel" when I decorate my home for the holidays. Wait a sec, that came out wrong, I am FULLY clothed. What I meant to say is that I like to use natural sources for my seasonal arrangements. My sister calls it "wild crafting" and we've been doing it for years now. My collection method is gathering pine and balsam fir branches and picking red berries from land that is soon going to be developed.

The end result is fabulous. I have to admit to something though. For the longest time I didn't have a clue what the berries that I like to use in my arrangements were called. So, after 30 minutes with Google Search, Detective Maria finally found out what they were. Here's what I found out, they are called Winterberry Holly and Rosehips:

Winterberry HollyThe top two berry pictures are what "Winterberry Holly" looks like. A holly has glossy evergreen leaves, right! No, not always. Ilex verticillata, Winterberry Holly, or Winterberry is Nova Scotia's native, wetland holly that loses it leaves each autumn. This beautiful shrub is a gorgeous burst of bright red colour during the winter months. Watch out though, their berries can easily fall off when shaken. Birds love these bushes and provide the avid bird watcher hours of entertainment.

RosehipsThe last picture are Rosehips. These bushes tend to grow in bunches. If you want to snip off a few of their limbs for their burgundy coloured berries, you practically have wear metal-plated gloves and garden clippers. This plant to thorny and you're guaranteed a few scratches and thorns if you're not careful. Take my advise and don't make wear your favourite down-filled jacket.

Also known as Rosa canina (Dog Rose), Rosehips are very high in Vitamin C and contain vitamins A, D and E, and antioxidants. These babies are sometimes made into jellies, preserves, syrups, tea and even wine. Who knew that something on my doorstep had so many uses.

Cooking with Rosehips

Winterberry Holly Attracts Birds

1 comment:

Jazmine said...

Yummy! I just picked up this post in my Google Alerts. =)