Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Surprise Find, Now Tell Me about Yours

On my visit to Home Depot's garden center I also chanced upon a Serviceberry, Amelanchier canadensis, another lovely native of Tennessee and a good portion of Eastern North America.

I don't know what is going on with HD. They are trying to confuse me, just when I was thinking there would be the usual array of Bradford Pear and Leyland Cypress...they totally surprise me with a native tree that I have always admired. Now, I have to stop by there regularly to see what other surprises they might have in store.

In case you aren't familiar with this small native tree...let me tell you about her.
Serviceberry has many names but one that some of you might recognize is Shadblow. Early American colonist called it Shadblow when they noticed its white blooms on the banks of the rivers when the Shad was running, and Juneberry when the red berries were ripe in June.

Not a bad story. Serviceberry is is a small understory tree or a multi-stemmed shrub. According to the literature, it naturally occurs in wet boggy spots, as do most of the serviceberries. Despite this preference, they thrive in my garden... which astounds me, because this yard can be brutally dry.

Why I grow it:

1. It provides food for birds and squirrels and is a visual treat for me. Someday, I hope to get enough berries to actually be able to get to them before the birds do. The owner of a local garden center said that he has had Juneberry pie and loved it.

2. In the spring the racemes of narrow petaled white flowers are lovely. They really need an evergreen background to show off their blooms. I’m a walk up and look at my trees gardener, so I can live with out the evergreen background.

3. I love the multi-trunked shrub form; it isn't a dense shrub so you can see through it and the roots are shallow so perennials and wild flowers are happy beneath it.

4. Fall color. Goldish/orangish color...
I plan to plant it in the Rusty Blackhaw Trail near another A canadensis and of course the Rusties. The autumn colors will look great together. ...let's hope it looks as good this fall as it does in my imagination.

Now tell me about your surprise finds, I really want to know.


* American Beauty website, A canadensis in bloom and UConn plant database


  1. I love serviceberries too. They are highly recommended for here and I don't know why more landscapers don't use them instead of Bradfords.

    My surprise find recently has been those Coral Bark Japanese maples for a steal.

  2. Tina,
    I remember your post, i was tempted to beg you to get me one!


  3. A very neat tree. I've never heard of it, but there aren't really any bogs to speak of around me.

  4. Maybe the box stores are finally starting to stock more natives. I don't see quite as many Bradfords as I used to. Yet another plant to add to the add-list for my yard!

  5. Hooray for your find. Sometimes the only place for us to buy trees is the big box stores, especially if you live in a small town. It's always good to check and see what they have gotten in, many times they come from local growers also, lessening the guilt of the purchase. Good score, Gail!

  6. Last year I found a couple of native skullcaps at one of the big stores - and years ago came home with an interesting but unidentified something from HD's outdoor sedum shelf that turned out to be a Haworthia grown here as a houseplant.

    Amalanchier was on my Illinois to-grow list but we moved without ever growing it. Nice find, Gail!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  7. cinj,

    There aren't any bogs in my yard,
    but I don't find they need boggy soil, just moisture and they can tolerate wet roots. It ought to grow for your conditions.


  8. Dave,

    We can hope that they are catching on, maybe the extreme weather is helping.


    Trees can be very expensive, before we had a native grower nearby finding trees was difficult. I got 3 Redbuds for $5 each after last years killer frost...they are fine.


    It is a sweet tree...and probably would love NS?


    That's a great find....it's what keeps me going back to HD and the other ones.

    Glad you all stopped by,


  9. Last year at Home Depot I found an Arborvitae (big deal), but it was a compact one that keeps its green well in winter which also happens to be one that can usually be found only in Europe. The name escapes me now. It came through the winter much better than a Thuja 'Emerald/Smaragd' that I got from a nursery several years ago.

  10. MMD,

    I think you have better luck at home depot than some of the other stores, Lowes is very predictable.

    That is a good find, now I am curious about it!


  11. I know people loathe big box stores, but like you I stop by and get surprised. Last year a $50 japanese maple they couldn't get rid of, several of them. Score!

    Also got a coralburst crabapple on a standard for $50. Score again!

  12. benjamin vogt,

    That is terrific...they know how to keep us coming back for more!


  13. Gail .. you have given me new drive to maybe sneak this one in. I have always admired them .. we do have them offered here all the time .. hubby was not keen .. but heck, once he is off fishing .. I might just go undercover and mysteriously plant one .. hum .. sounds like a good mission to me !
    Thanks !

  14. I have a great big old serviceberry shrub in my yard, probably here before the house ever was. They grow wild all around here and not only in wet places but dry ones as well. In Canada we usually refer to them as Saskatoon berries - I had no idea shadblow was the same thing! We ate the berries all the time when I was little. They are popular here for pies and jams and were an important source of fruit for the local First Nations groups. Some Canadian farms make the berries into jams and sell them in the UK as a "gourmet" product.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson