Alien or native… bright white or soft pink… I enjoy Trillium. I’m glad to have it in our garden. There are other trillium species native to other areas of North America & further afield. A couple of varieties have made it into our borders. Hopefully, one day — or one year — they’ll bloom, too.
Early last year, I made 2 perennial hanging baskets to rescue licorice ferns. The voracious deer in our neighbourhood were browsing them into oblivion. I peeled the moss & ferns off our rocky outcrop & used them to line the wire baskets. Dangling just out of Bambi’s reach, the ferns are recovering nicely.
Now, my challenge is maintaining seasonal interest in the baskets.
Each winter, I’m desperate for early colour. Because these new containers hang within view of my breakfast table, I look at them with hope. Planting several types of spring bulbs only makes sense.
Iris reticulata & snowdrops bloomed in early February, just a few months after planting. That got me excited about spring. Then a dump of snow insisted it was still winter. Bummer. 😦 But the bulbs took it in stride & were still showing off their colours at the end of the month.
This winter, the snowdrops returned, but sadly there was no sign of the tiny iris. On the bright side, comparing how much the licorice fern fronds grew through the 2 winters without browsing is nice.
In mid-March of that first year, narcissus, creamy crocus & snowdrops decorated one of the baskets.
The narcissus carried the show well into April.
I experimented with some native bulbs in the other basket, hoping to help out the native pollinators & beneficials. Northern Riceroot Fritillary bloomed simultaneously with annual sea blush as the grape hyacinths were finishing up. Through May, the blooms matured and set seed.
By June, the white stonecrop gave me hope for a summer show. The big challenge is finding drought-tolerant plants that survive while we’re away camping.
As the bulb foliage died back, I planted a few Salvia seedlings for late summer & autumn interest. Fingers crossed that they’re more established for this year.
Isn’t that what makes gardening so fun? It’s all one experiment after another. 🙂
The simple addition of the word ‘Common’ before a plant name seems to make it less desirable, doesn’t it?
Who would want a common plant in a garden? Don’t we all want flash – bling — the unusual? In truth, the backbone of a great many gardens is made up of ‘Common ‘ plants. It’s the common plants that enhance the flash & bling of unusual ones.
Common Snowberry seems an insignificant deciduous shrub, but it has qualities that raise its value in a garden.
‘Common’ basically means: it can grow pretty much anywhere.
Here on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, where our challenge is summer drought & winter wet, Symphoricarpos albus still thrives.
Have you got a steep yard where your hedge struggles because it’s dry at the top of the slope & soggy lower down? Snowberry handles that broad spectrum. It also handles sheering if you’re after a tidy, dense form. AND It supplies a nice cohesive look dotted throughout a mixed hedgerow.
How about that difficult dry, shady patch where it’s tough for plants to survive? Yup, snowberry handles that, too.
It grows well in the feast or famine water supply of bioswales & rain gardens that are so prized for slowing stormwater runoff.
Because its vigorous roots spread via suckers, snowberry is a workhorse in erosion control, which is why it’s also recommended for restoration sites.
Snowberry has unusual fruits.
White berries are not the norm — and the snowberry is even more unusual in that it’s NOT even a berry! It’s a ‘drupe.’ Each fruit contains 2 ‘nutlets’ — just like the fruit of a cherry contains a pit. Cool, eh? How many folks at the garden club can you entertain with that trivia?
Symphoricarpos albus’ bitter drupes persist late into the winter, providing welcome food for birds when other supplies run low.
This small shrub was considered interesting & decorative enough that a couple centuries ago, it was imported by Britain & grown in many fashionable gardens. Side note: It’s become so comfortable there that it spread into their wilderness areas, too! See — it’ll grow pretty much anywhere.
Snowberry is a native plant that welcomes wildlife to the garden.
The diminutive pink flowers in early summer are especially appreciated by native pollinators & other beneficial insects. Both the Anna’s & Rufus hummingbirds compete for access to the blooms.
Deer & other ungulates browse on snowberry, but it isn’t tasty enough to be gorged on as their dessert.
Even in its naked winter state, a Symphoricarpos albus thicket provides protection, food & shelter for small birds & mammals.
I used to think snowberry was a pretty dull little shrub, but I’ve since changed my mind. A couple of years ago, I planted one in our little woodland border. Without any further attention, the snowberry survived last summer’s drought & this year, it bore fruit– several puffy white drupes. 🙂
Now the plan is to introduce it into a couple other challenging spots. The wildlife will be happy if it flourishes. If its vigorous roots spread too far, I’m sure the deer will help keep it in check.