- The Great Toronto Tree Hunt
- LEAF Learning Garden
- Let It Bee
- Maple Leaf Forever Tree
- Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens
- Urban Wood Utilization
- Young Urban Forest Leaders Program
- Youth EAB Ambassador Program
- Past Projects
Against a dreary grey landscape or a crisp white coat of snow, glossy berries shine like winter jewels. Planting native deciduous trees and shrubs with overwintering berries is one way to add year-round interest to your yard. Much more than backyard bling, these berries offer an important food source for native birds and other wildlife during frosty months.
If your yard is looking winter-drab, now is a perfect time to consider adding shrubs for winter colour next year. Take a walk in your neighbourhood and get inspired by shrubs still dotted with red, orange and black berries. Some attention-getters like evergreen holly, (the Christmas icon), are introduced species to Ontario. Others are native species which are an essential link in the local food chain for wildlife such as overwintering birds like robins, grosbeaks and waxwings. Some of these native shrubs are available through LEAF’s planting programs.
Cedar waxwing with berries
The six shrubs featured below usually stay decked out all winter in colourful edible berries.
- Black chokeberry (Aronia
melanocarpa)- Bluish-black glossy berries cover this open, upright, rounded
shrub. While the berries taste bitter to us, birds and other wildlife enjoy them
as a cold weather food source.
Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) fruit
- Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum
trilobum)- Bright, tart, red berries on this dense, rounded shrub mature in
late summer/early fall and persist into the winter if not often picked off by
birds or heavy frosts.
Winter berries of Highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)
- Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)- Oblong bluish-black berries contrast with red to purple
foliage in the fall on this large, upright shrub.
Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) fruit
- Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)- A beautiful large shrub or small tree all year
around. While it does not have the striking red or yellow bark many people associate
with dogwoods, the pagoda boasts multi-season interest. Large clusters of white
flowers that turn into bluish-black berries which are excellent for winter
Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) berries
- Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos
Snow white, waxy berries dot this shrub from late summer to early winter,
providing shelter and food for many native birds.
Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) fruit
- Pasture Rose (Rosa
carolina)- Shiny red rose hips are eye-catching in
a winter garden and provide a late season food source for wildlife. If you love
the pink roses growing wild along country roads, you’re familiar with this
sweet scented classic shrub.
Pasture rose (Rosa carolina) fruit
To order these and other shrubs delivered to your door, visit our website.
The Backyard Tree Planting Program is supported by York Region, City of Markham, Town of Newmarket, Town of Ajax, City of Toronto, and Toronto Hydro.
A lifelong gardener, Andrea Bannister is a freelance communicator and mom of three outdoor-loving kids in Toronto, Ontario. Andrea is a new volunteer with LEAF.