Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

She’s a Beautyberry

Hello, fellow readers,

A visit with Jacquie, a dear design client, leads to sharing life stories and an introduction to her newest favorite plant – Beautyberry.

It’s a marvel how life brings people together. It’s one of the joys gained from the work I do. Especially when I rub shoulders with fellow gardeners, many far more accomplished than I am in nurturing plants. Such is the case of Jacquie of Byram, NJ, who reached out for design assistance when my dear momma began her long journey home. I vividly recall the day we first spoke. It was in May of 2015, already steamy in Virginia, where mom was. I wasn’t sure when I’d return because of Mom’s ill health, but we arranged a tentative meeting time. And so began our sharing of life experiences.

A woman in a blue rain coat and garden boots walking in the rain her desired area for a new garden.

The day we met, it was torrentially raining.

Jacquie dreams about a garden around her home. 

The day we met it was torrentially raining, but no matter. With garden boots flocked in flowers and a rain jacket, Jacquie gave a tour of her property. It was quickly apparent she was a passionate gardener with perennials beautifully arranged, plus a charming vegetable garden with a surrounding wooden structure her husband built. Jacquie pointed and named each plant, noting from where they came. Many were divided from dear friends’ gardens just as she shared cuttings with time. The avid gardener had been dreaming, planning, and saving to build a garden around their home and shared a doodled drawing of a rustic natural stone path and patio with nooks and crannies for pockets of plants.

An informal gravel and stone patio with a fire pit and perennials and shrubs surrounding

Jacquie’s Garden “After”

We worked together to create a landscape of her dreams with various colors, primarily purples, pinks, and yellows, adding to the lovely plants she already had. We discovered an outcropping of boulders after removing weeds, which became a haven for magnificent moss, plus a shade garden with a respite spot. The installation was a process over three years.

Jacquie’s New Garden and Favored Beautyberry
Beautyberry, Callicarpa Americana, with light green foliage with lavender-pink berries.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana)

I had asked Jacquie early in the summer if I could come to take photos when the colors were at peak, but it wasn’t until last week that we could arrange a visit. She had been occupied tending to her beloved cousin, her heartfelt “sister,” who passed away in June. We didn’t dwell on that; instead, we toured her gardens, and once again, Jacquie pointed out plants that she added and ones that she lovingly moved to spots where “they will be happier.”

A woman with short brown hair, sweater, and boots sitting on a boulder in her garden.

Beautiful Jacquie…
inside and out.

“This is my newest favorite plant,” she pointed to a Beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) with its light green foliage and branches lined with soon-to-ripen tiny lavender-pink berries. It’s one of my favs, too and deer stay clear.

It berries best in full sun, though it can take part shade in zones 5 through 8. She may die back in rough winters here, but not to worry. She blooms on new wood. They love to be in groups to cross-pollinate, which augments the iridescent berries that coat their branches, reaching their full glory by October. The berries persist after the leaf drop and are a source of food for feathered friends.

While Callicarpa dichotoma is native to eastern Asia, C. Americana is native to the southeast and grows a bit larger to six feet tall and wide. The native beautyberry is said to repel mosquitoes, and the berries can be made into jelly or wine. What a beautiful thing.

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Column Updated 1/6/23 

There’s more to the Story in the Garden Dilemmas Podcast –

Enjoy a related story: Winter Beauty of Winterberry

The back of a tan house with white trim and wooden steps leading to a lawn area where a garden is planned.


An informal stone patio with plants in nooks and crannies and perennials and shrubs surrounding


The installation for the entire property was a process over time with the help of a favored installer and friend, Robert Molinet of Sierra Landscape Management. Click here to learn more about our special team.



Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary
  1. James McVey Reply

    Hmmm..Maybe some Beautyberry for James next year? 🙂

    • Mary Stone Reply

      Hello James, Yes! She’s a beauty, especially in the fall. Thanks for reading my column :^), Mary

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