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Winterberry Is A Gift Year Round

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Those beautiful red, round winterberries on bare branches are gifts from Nature – for the birds, the squirrels, and for you!

For what you pay for just a few branches of Ilex verticillata you can basically buy an entire plant for that price and have your own berries to harvest next year. So, when spring comes, why not resolve to plant your own winterberries. They’re native to our area and very easy to grow around here in a sunny, moist spot. You can find varieties that grow from 3 feet to 8 or 10 feet high.

Winterberry hollies make a nice summer hedge where songbirds like to nest, but the leaves drop for winter. So, plant them along a deck or patio to enjoy summer privacy followed by a great winter view of the berry bonanza.

Snip some berry branches for decorating before the birds swoop in to feast. And really, with just a shrub or two – including at least one male to pollinate the females – you’ll have armloads of free winterberries for holiday decorating year after year.