The Guelder Rose
High winds have swept over the garden, leaving piles of leaves on the ground and bare branches overhead, but a large shrub in our wild garden still defiantly advertises its exuberant masses of red berries to hungry birds. Viburnum opulus, also known as the Guelder Rose, is a large native shrub, which provides year round interest and attracts a variety of wildlife. Its shiny red berries cling to the branches long after the leaves have dropped and are particular favorites for the Bullfinch and Mistle Thrush, which aid it in seed dispersal. The shrub itself creates safe hiding places for other animals and in early summer you may observe hoverflies over the lovely white hermaphrodite flowers. The berries are rumored to be used in the creation of spirits in Siberia, but I would stay clear myself, as they can prove mildly toxic in large quantities.