Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Colour Collaborative: December: Berry

And not a picture of holly or mistletoe in sight.

Of course, it's only right that this month's Colour Collaborative theme should be 'Berry'. In a dream Yuletide, snow would be on the ground (and branches). Berries would gleam, jewel-bright, from the trees. And yet this year it's been a wet - for some, disastrously so - and grey December. Not at all Christmassy.

We do have a big vase of holly in the house. It was scrumped 'foraged' one dark afternoon from a nearby lane. It looks very nice. And no doubt we'd have mistletoe too if it was easy to procure. There's a hook on the hallway ceiling which was just made for a sprig or two.

For me personally, I love berries (you only need to look back though my archives of photographs for the proof) not just because they're synonymous with Christmas. I love them because certain ones herald the approach of autumn. My favourite season.

I'd prefer the deeper red of hawthorn berries to the bright scarlet of holly, the blue-black of whinberries and blackberries and elderberries.

And although wild and native-growing trees and shrubs always get my vote, I do like spray of oxblood hypericum berries on the table. Once upon a time when I worked as a florist, I relished adding them to arrangements. 

I always try (and for the most part, fail) to capture the loveliness of 'snowberries' nodding on their bare brown stems. As a child I'd drop them onto the ground and listen for the muted 'pop' as they burst under the lightest tap of my toes.

There's something uniquely appealing about an absence of foliage and clusters of berries, little exclamations of colour in an otherwise grey landscape. It's the same with winter-flowering shrubs like wintersweet and hamamelis.

Spherical starbursts of velvety purple-green berries on fruiting ivy. Startling violet Callicarpa. Even those cultivated edibles: glossy blackcurrants with their evocatively-scented leaves which take me back to childhood summers, or the pinky-red wild raspberries which still grow in those secret places near the old railway line. 

Berries are not just for Christmas.

Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below.

What is The Colour Collaborative?

All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.


  1. Berries are most definitely not just for Christmas, I totally agree. And some berries shouldn't be for Christmas at all! Have you noticed the increase year of year of tasteless strawberries in the shops at Christmas? All things in their season say I.

    Gorgeous photos here, as ever Sarah :)

  2. Lovely photos Sarah. I agree, they're not just for Christmas at all. I wish you the happiest of years in your new home. Sam x

  3. I really like berries on any plants. I always did, and I can remember looking for them whenever I walked in the woods as a child. I distinctly remember when we moved to a house with yew bushes in the yard, how surprised I was when the red berries developed in the fall. They were so pretty but they would crush easily and be gooey if you picked them. They may have been poisonous too, so it really was better to look and not touch. :)

  4. Berries are for every day aren't they! Happy New Year! Here's to a good 2016! xx

  5. I love berries, summer or winter, edible or not. Snowberries are magical looking, aren't they? Happy new year to you Sarah. I hope 2016 is a good one.

  6. I think berry brings to mind thoughts of such wonderful rich colours. Your photographs are beautiful

  7. Lovely blog and photos, wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year :)

  8. Beautiful images...happy 2016! :) xxx

  9. Such beautiful photographs Sarah. Happy New Year! xx

  10. Thanks for sharing views of some of the lovely, colorful berries around you, Sarah. I am unfamiliar with some of the varieties and found your remembrances and reactions to them interesting. When I lived on the west bank of the Hudson River years ago I asked some friends if they knew of any patches of Bittersweet berries. I love their orangey-red color and enjoy having them in Fall flower arrangements. One day I was wandering through the brambles in our back yard down close to the river and was both thrilled and chagrin to find Bittersweet in my own back yard! xx

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