Joyce H. Newman is the editor of Consumer Reports’ GreenerChoices.org, and has been a Garden Tour Guide with The New York Botanical Garden for the past six years.
One of the most wonderful native trees in our area is the Shadbush (Amelanchier arborea), which is sometimes called the Serviceberry, Shadblow or Juneberry tree. It’s an all-season beauty, especially in a natural landscape setting, and just one of the many native plants you can learn about in the upcoming class, Gardening with Native Plants.
The small tree features lovely grey bark and showy flowers, as well as terrific berries for pies and gorgeous fall color. But equally beautiful are the stories and folktales that have been associated with this tree for hundreds of years.
One story is that the first settlers in the New England area often planned funeral services at the same time that the tree bloomed. Its blooming was a sign that the ground had thawed sufficiently to be able to dig graves. So the tree became known as the ‘serviceberry tree.’
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