Fall’s Balls

Bowling Ball and Nandina
Bowling Ball and Nandina

One of my main elements of design is mixing round, spike, and frill shapes. When nothing else works, I often add “non plant” materials to fulfill one of the shapes – including rocks, containers, even the occasional bowling ball.

I have a handful of shrubs pruned into tight meatball or gumdrop shapes, if for nothing else than to show neighbors that I actually know how to do it in my otherwise naturalistic cottage garden. When a large yaupon holly tree on a property line got whacked by a neighbor, I got even by turning it into a three-ball poodle plant.

Yaupon Poodle and bottle tree (1)
Yaupon Poodle and bottle tree

Anyway, while knocking around the garden and neighborhood in early November I collected quite a few roundish Autumn fruits and laid them on a bed of maple leaves collected from the garden of Mississippi author Eudora Welty and accessorized with flowers of “country girls” (‘Clara Curtis’) and a couple other hardy garden mums (Chrysanthemum x rubellum).

See if you can match the names of these “passalong” heirloom and native fruits with their image:

Fall's Balls resized
Autumn Fruits, Mississippi 2018

Pomegranate, sweetgum , Oriental persimmon, native persimmon, chayote or mirliton (Sechium edule), Pyracantha, Nandina, pecan, air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera),  contorted hardy orange (Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’), American beautyberry, ‘Callaway’ crabapple, osage orange (Maclura pomifera), bird’s eye pepper (chile pequin), toadstool, red buckeye, and mango melon or “vine peach” (Cucumis melo variety chito)…

4 Replies to “Fall’s Balls”

      1. That was used as understock, but I can not remember why. All of our dwarf citrus was grown on the same Cuban shaddock. There were a few ‘Flying Dragon’ in the stock nursery, but we did not use them for anything.


  1. I moved to Atlanta in ’76 from north Florida. I didn’t know about nandina before. Now it’s one of my favorite plants. With a last name that rhymes with “Goaty,” I became a fan of the the half-goat/half-man myth of Pan, It led me to name my backyard, “Pan’s Grove.” I wish I could post my lovely photo in these replies of my tall, five-foot Pan sculpture with snow-covered red-berried nandinas surrounding him. He greets you when you enter the lush backyard through my art studio.


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