RHS Garden Rosemoor's plant of the month for October

'Beautyberry', a medium-sized deciduous shrub, has to be seen to be believed...

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' is often called 'beautyberry', and it is easy to see why. The colour of its fruit is spectacular; the clusters of bright purple-violet berries bring colour to the autumn border, but during the rest of the year it is hardly noticeable.

This year, the stems are absolutely covered with these colourful beads, due in part to the lovely warm weather this summer. It is quite an easy going plant and will be happy in almost any situation except deep shade or wet soil. It is best to grow several shrubs together to ensure good pollination.
 
Our largest example can be seen just as you branch off to the rock gully and it looks fabulous planted in association with the bright violet-mauve flower spikes of Liriope muscari. The disc-florets of Aster lateriflorus var. horizontalis add another pink-purple shade to the composition. A plant that does work well with this shrub is the unusual looking Tricyrtis formosana 'Shelley's' with reddish-purple spots to its petals. In the AGM garden (Award of Garden Merit), which is quite shaded, C. bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' mixes well with the lavender blue flowers of Aster × frikartii 'Mönch'.
 
These colourful berries would also look good with purple foliage such as that of Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Eva'. Combine with deciduous shrubs that will have autumn leaves of a contrasting colour such as yellow Cornus sanguinea 'Magic Flame' or Disanthus cercidifolius which goes through a number of colour changes from yellow to purple.
 
Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' will add colour to your autumn border and is sure to be a talking point for any visitors. It can be obtained from the Rosemoor Plant Centre along with other shrubs with autumn interest.

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