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SW London
A semi-mature, hardy individual who tries to get away with doing as little as possible in gardening as in life, still expects the best results & wonders why she is frequently disappointed! She likes to keep a photographic record of everything, good & frequently bad!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Pyracantha; multi-talented & multi-functional.

DSCN1020 Some of the frothy flowers of our pyracantha

We have a huge pyracantha at the bottom of our garden; it is a multi-talented plant. When it flowers it is a boundless fantastically frothy white mass which joins next door’s pyracantha & the one in the house at the back of us. Bees love it. I would share; I have better photos but who knows where they are!

The sparrows love the dense shrub using it as a resting/hiding/look-out point before they use the feeders in the garden. In the summer months it echoes with that tuneless sparrow-song & the air is full of the whirring of wings as they constantly fly back & forth. 3 broods of sparrow babies grow up amongst the branches. We almost had a robin nesting in it last year!

Sussex Prairies Garden Aug 2010 045

The sparrows are the rather indistinct little brown jobbies in the photo!

The bright red berries don’t last long with the pigeons & blackbirds gobbling most barely before they are ripened leaving only those on the  edges or ends of the tiniest of branches to brighten the winter gloom.

Lastly the shrub gives us lots of privacy from the houses at the back of us. We are all quite close to each other so it is quite nice to feel tucked away from it all whatever the season.

I normally prune the pyracantha every year to try & keep it under a vague semblance of control, quite difficult & indeed dangerous with a long-handled pruner. It does now need drastic hacking back as it over-hangs the planted areas at the back of the garden. I am not bothered about the shade but it does keep the area underneath extra dry. The not so delicate operation hack & slash began a couple of days ago.

You know that the pyracantha flowers in May/June followed by the immature berries gradually ripening to, in our case, bright red. Much has been written about the mild weather causing plants to be rather un-seasonal in their flowering & fruiting habits. As many plants will flower twice if given the opportunity I have not been too astonished but I was quite flabbergasted to see the pyracantha flowering in January. I had seen blobs of white on the plant but had assumed it was sparrow guano.


Then I noticed that not only was it flowering but immature berries were also forming….

DSCN2925……who knows if they would have reached this stage; doubtful I suspect but who knows.


I must be off, more pruning to do.

** I apologise for the dire quality of the photos in this post; for illustration purposes only!


  1. Agreed. It is a splendid plant and agreed. Your pics. don't do it justice.

    Only joking. It really is a plant that ticks almost all of the boxes. Now if it were edible, then possibly it could be a world beater.

    n.b. there is reported that a rather odd cove from Texas makes jelly from the berries but since they are supposed to be very bitter one wonders why.


  2. S.S No, the photos are truly crap. I did see that one could make jelly from the berries. I expect you to have a go!

  3. Yes, I have white blobs on some of the plants in my garden, but it IS bird guano.

  4. I have plenty of the pigeon variety - not an attractive addition to the garden!