Back to Back Issues Page
Highbush Cranberry
May 22, 2017

Yes, there are pictures of the kids this week, all in sleep mode.

Again, our prayers for the many regions hit by ravaging weather and deadly storms.

Karen and I thank God that we can also come to Him in our time of need.

The girls went to the beauty salon this past week.

Haircuts and trims, nail grinding, oatmeal bath, I don't know what package they name, but they came out looking and smelling pretty.

A week later and Keet still has one of the bows in her hair.

Just about all the planting is done, then again, how can I say that when I just know I will come across something else.

That new plant or a 'Gotta Have' plant.

I'm sure you know what I mean.

The neighbors robins fledge, just as a young mom settles in on her nest in our yard.

I figure this is her first time, as it took her well over a week to build and she take off just like a skittish first timer.

We all have have our first times on something.

Alright, hummers have finally made it here.

Our first visual was Friday morning (no time to grab a camera).

I still make visits to watch the fox family.

Here is a picture of a kit/pup that was probably 150 feet (about 45 m. or so) away from me.

The other two went wondering off into taller grass, and mom wasn't too far away.

She always seems to have an eye on me, no matter what (below).

This week I give you a bit of information on a four season bush, hopefully it fits a need in your gardens.

Highbush Cranberry.


Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum):

The Highbush cranberry is not a cranberry at all, however its fruit, or ‘drupes’ as they are known, strongly resemble cranberries in both appearance and taste.

They also mature in the fall, as cranberries do.

The two plants are quite different.

Both are native to North America, but the Highbush cranberry is a 'Viburnum'.

In contrast to the ‘true,’ or Lowbush cranberry, is in the 'Vaccinium' family (think blueberry family).

In North America, the Highbush cranberry grows wild from British Columbia to Newfoundland, south to Washington state and east to northern Virginia and all of New England, with an isolated population in New Mexico.

It is a hardy and well liked landscape plant in gardens reaching beyond natural boundaries.

Plant Description:

Considered a large and hardy deciduous shrub with a moderate growth rate of up to 3 feet (almost 1 meter) per year.

The plant is typically 8 to 15 (2+ - 4+m.) feet tall by 8 to 10 feet wide (2+ - 3+ m.), with arching stems and a very dense, rounded form, making it a popular landscaping choice for use as a screening hedge.

Pictured are my adult shrubs, every bit of 12 feet tall.

Dwarf varieties are on the market, these cultivars can grow to 6 feet (two m.), and easier to maintain in small gardens.

These bushes also make a wonderful friendly fence (for a solid screen, plants should be spaced 2 to 3 feet apart).

It is noted for attracting wildlife, especially birds which benefit from the fruit, which can remain on the branches well into mid/late winter.

Wintering robins and waxwings enjoy the winter treats, often gleaning the shrubs clean in late winter (around here).

It is tolerant of frost, likes sun or semi-shade, and is successful in most soil types but does best in well-drained, moist soil that is rich and loamy.

Established plants can tolerate drought, but they are helped by supplemental watering during such periods.

I have found this to be true, for more fruits, it is best to plant more than one bush.

I might add, that some birds do like the thick bushes for nesting sights, Northern cardinals for one.


Foliage adds another ingredient into making these shrubs a multi-seasonal attraction.

Pictured is a young Shrub in the backyard picture take a couple days ago.

Leaves are opposite, simple, 3-lobed and 2 to 4 inches long.

They are superficially similar to many maple leaves, but have a somewhat wrinkled surface and impressed venation.

They are glossy dark green in the summer but often change to yellow-red or red-purple in the fall.


It produces flat-top clusters of showy white flowers in May or June.

The clusters are 2 to 3 inches across, with an outer ring of larger, sterile flowers.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (having both male and female organs) and are therefore self-fertile, meaning that an individual plant’s flowers can pollinate one another, so there is no need for a second type to provide pollen and produce fruit.

I did mention above that pollination is better with more than one bush (personal experience).

The flowers are pollinated by both wind and insects.

Flowers attracts many pollinators, including butterflies.


Nearly round drupe (drupe: a fleshy fruit with a central core containing one or more seeds) about 1/3 inch diameter with a single large seed, bright red, juicy and quite acid, like a cranberry.

The fruits ripen from August to September.

It does not begin to produce abundant amounts of fruit until approximately four/five years of age.

Do these four season shrubs deserve a place in your Wildlife Gardens?

This is one native shrub I wouldn't go without, as it serves many needs for wildlife, and for us to enjoy and appreciate.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Your talent determines what you can do.

Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do.

Your attitude determines how well you do it".

Lou Holtz

Wow, how true is that?

God gives us these gifts, it is up to you and me to find and use them correctly.

Read Matthew 25, the parable about the talents.

"Are you familiar with His owner said to him, ‘You have done well. You are a good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will put many things in your care. Come and share my joy".

Matthew 25: 21 and 23

Use your talents or they will be taken away.

"Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents".

Matthew 25: 28

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

Back to Back Issues Page