Ok, I am officially declaring this the week of the berry shrubs. That is until I can’t find one for posting tomorrow!
Many of the neighborhoods around us have plantings of cotoneaster, a member of the rose family.
Cotoneaster is not native, but Miz Flora and I read the low thickets it makes and the berries are very attractive to birds, especially to thrushes. This immediately made sense to me. Thrushes are pretty secretive woodland birds, and suburbia just doesn’t offer a lot of brambly messes of shrubs for those shier songbirds to hide in. While we have only seen the shorter varieties, some cotoneasters grow into tall shrubs.
More reading led us to decide this must be Cotoneaster horizontalis, or the ‘rockspray’ cotoneaster. I think you can see why from this planting that goes back to when this retaining wall was put in the 1970s. That’s a forty-year-old growth of shrubs!
If you have a wall, and would like to give some birds a boost, here’s the cotoneaster listing from one of our favorite websites for learning more about plants: landscaping.about.com.