On June 28th (I know, I know, over a month ago now; this summer has proven to be as fast and furious as the rest of the last year ), I received an e-mail from my brother Gregg of Sudbury, MA. I was thrilled to learn he’d been following my blog! (We see each other once a year, tops.) And delighted that he had considered and contributed a suggestion for my tree-to-be-planted:
I recommend Serviceberry, a small understory tree (shrub) of the Rosaceae family, with some species native to Michigan (native species always preferred). Needs moist but well drained acidic soil. Does not like
clay, alkaline, sandy, or salty soil. Medium growth rate, one or two
feet per year. A “two-generation” tree unlikely to live much past fifty.
Blooms early spring, great for bees offering early season foraging!
Berries feed birds and squirrels, and berries make good jam or pie. Deer
resistant. Full sun to partial shade, berry production commensurate with sun. If planted over parking area dropped berries may be a concern if birds, squirrels, and humans do not harvest. Can be pruned as single-stem tree or multiple-stem large shrub, somewhat dependent on species.
Beautiful fall color! Plant out front in sunniest spot for easiest bird
and squirrel access? But not too close to roadway.
Another name for Shadbush
Those others of you who have been following this decision-making blog may recall that Bronwen Gates, who, like my brother, is also familiar with my well-canopied yard, recommended two understory trees: the Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) or the Shadbush, which turns out is another name for a Serviceberry, writing:
What about some of the wonderful native understory trees like Shadbush (Amelanchier), so welcome as the earliest of all the rose family trees in bloom and with “delish” fruits in June . . .
Deliberations recommence . . .
I am tempted to switch my choice (yet again!) just in gratitude for my brother reaching out and in thanksgiving for a successful resolution to a sudden and serious health challenge he faced in June–and I do love how many names the Serviceberry/Shadbush is known by. Wikipedia has a lovely list:
Amelanchier is also known as: shadbush, shadwood or shadblow, serviceberry or sarvisberry, or just sarvis, juneberry, saskatoon, sugarplum or wild-plum, and chuckley pear . . .
. . . And dreams win
But, I realize as I type these considerings, that since the last day of April, I’ve been dreaming of a white flowering dogwood framed by our new bedroom French doors and becoming an understory tree to my American beech ally, which straddles our backyard property line. In fact, I’ve already had Filipe, the brick mason from A-D Masonry, and Tim Lekander, the concrete guy from LMT Contracting, back for estimates on adding another brick skirt, this one across the back of the carport, to provide a striking backdrop for the dogwood.
The Final Plan
Mike Wasserman from Old Village Landscaper in Plymouth, MI, and his great crew just completed two and a half days of spectacular landscaping Monday, restoring the aftermath of the construction in our side and back yards. Not only does it look better than it has in the 13 years we’ve lived here, it looks better than I have imagined it could!
Mike took a look at my proposed planting site and approved of it, suggesting we make a semi-circle bed for the dogwood coming out from the brick-skirting-to-be. He’ll be picking out a flowering dogwood for me and planting it come spring, the best time to plant the species. He liked the idea of planting it on the next Arbor Day: April 24, 2020. Me, too. Stay tuned!
Happy Birthday, Bro!
But, before I sign off and before the stroke of midnight, let me take this opportunity to wish my dear brother, Gregg Kevin Dunphy, a very happy 60th birthday today!