Wednesday, December 10

Garden Pic Wednesday: Florida Winter Color: Firethorn

You can't say Florida doesn't have winter color!
Today, I took my camera and walked through the neighborhood and down the road about a quarter of a mile to snap a picture
of this gorgeous, berry laden shrub!
I didn't know what it was, though I see it often here and there in all over the place. I think it plants itself. Birds like the berries.
So I looked it up. It's called Firethorn. 
This particular one is a self-planted, gone wild one down by a power pole along the road.
But it is a landscape shrub that can be planted on purpose and it prized for it's fast growth and lovely winter color in north Florida--though it requires meticulous hedging or it will get 20 feet big.
It's branches can be cut for indoor arrangements and it does well in a vase or can be used to accent a wreath. 
I took a pair of clippers and picked some one year for a vase. From a different wild-growing Firethorn elsewhere.
However, Firethorn doesn't have the word "thorn" in it's name for no reason. The shrub is thick with wicked sharp spikes.
It was the only year I picked any, though it's certainly lovely to look upon along the road.

So today's Garden Pic of the Day is: Firethorn!

Apparently Firethorn can be trained to grow on a fence or brick wall.
I read there are couple of Dwarf varieties: Red Elf, which is disease resistent with a 2 foot habit and Low Boy, which crawls low along the ground with a wide spread.. Both have the pretty berries. Thorns no doubt, too.
I'd be interested in acquiring the Red Elf type.
What's pretty in your neck of the woods?

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