When thinking about “wildflowers”, we should not forget the trees and shrubs. They often offer not only flowers, but food and shelter for insects and birds alike and interest across many seasons.
In my garden, I’ve planted several serviceberries, Amelanchier sp., which are members of the Roseceae family.
The white blooms in early spring are not as showy as those of their relative the apple tree, but are pretty and delicate. Plus they don’t stink like the blooms on those ghastly Callery pear trees that everyone insists on planting.
By late spring the serviceberries are covered with fruit.
These tiny red “berries” are edible but it would take a lot of them to make any sort of substantial dessert or jelly. I leave them for the birds to enjoy. And they enjoy them quickly. As soon as the fruit ripens, birds swoop in and gobble them up.
Throughout the summer, the foliage remains “clean and green”, turning a lovely maroon color in the fall.
When a plant can provide three seasons of interest and attract and feed birds, what’s not to like?
Well, you might not like that serviceberries are often grown as multi-trunk trees. If you choose to plant one with a single trunk, be prepared to cut off suckers as they form around the base of the trunk and don’t expect it to tower like an oak tree. You also might not like that if you plant a serviceberry near a sidewalk or driveway, some of the fruit may drop to the ground and make a little bit of a mess. But neither is that big of a problem. Don’t let them stop you from planting this in your garden. The birds will thank you for doing so.