Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’ or Purple Beauty Berry is a stunner in the garden this time of year. It’s a deciduous bush which means it loses it leaves in the winter. The Purple Beauty Berry grows about 4 feet tall and wide and produces many beautiful clusters of tiny purple berries that last throughout the winter or until the birds eat them all. It is a cultivar of the native American Beauty Bush and requires next to no care.
The only thing you need to do is cut it back to 6-8 inches from the ground in the spring. This ensures that the new growth will be covered with berries. But be patient as it will take a while to bounce back to its original glory. Last winter I saw a small group of blue birds feasting on my bush which was great because we hardly ever see bluebirds in Southwestern PA.
Of course you can’t miss the fall leaves this time of year. But what about those perennials and shrubs whose leaves turn beautiful shades of gold, red and shiny black. Euonymus alatus or Burning Bush is probably the first one to comes to mind however there are several others that will work in the landscape and make for a great fall show. Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’also known as Sweetspire is one of my favorites. Fothergilla major, is another beautiful deciduous shrub that gets great fall color just before it drops its leaves. For a perennial try Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’ whose leaves turn a deep red in the fall. Snip of few stems of each place them in a tall vase and you have a beautiful centerpiece for your fall entertaining.