Friday, October 15, 2010

Four Seasons of Serviceberry

When I first started gardening, a successful season meant blooms from May to August. That's simply not good enough anymore. I crave colour in the garden as early as March and as late as November. Serviceberry (amelanchier canadensis) is a wonderful shrub that helps to extend the season and provide year-round interest.

One of the best features of serviceberry is its outstanding fall colour. All of the photos here are of foliage from the same shrub.

The colours are so lovely as they mingle together. Together they give off a glowing warmth that is very welcome as the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler.

In spring, the serviceberry is among the first shrubs to herald the arrival of sunnier days.

By June, the shrub is absolutely dripping with berries. The berries start off green, turning a bright red for a few days. The berries then mature to a deep purple. This is a no-mess shrub. Left to their own devices, robins will feast on every last berry, whether on a branch or on the ground. Fortunately, there are lots of berries to go around. For several weeks each summer, breakfast comes with a side of serviceberries. One day, there will be enough for a serviceberry pie.

In winter, the serviceberry has a pleasing form. I add my own colour during the darkest and dreariest months. In my Zone 6a Toronto garden, serviceberry has been a problem-free, four-season delight. If you have a little extra room for something special in your garden, serviceberry is a great choice.

3 comments:

Nutty Gnome said...

I've never come across a serviceberry before, but it's lovely. I've added it to my wish list!

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

One of my alltime favourite shrubs/small trees. Ideal for smaller gardens, windbreaks, wildlife habitats...a great 3 season plant. In Newfoundland, we called them chucklypears, chuckleberries or Indian pears. I don't remember knowing why.

Northern Shade said...

Each photo has a unique pattern of fall colouration. The first photo, showing the green centres on the leaves and the red borders is especially eye-catching.