It’s not really a pretty shrub, but still, I’d like a thicket of Indian Plum in our border.
It’s specifically because of the leaf buds & blossoms in February. They calm my cabin fever & help me through the last several weeks of winter. Against the grey skies, the leaves look so perky & hopeful … and determined. Even the inconsequential greenish-white flowers are exciting when little else is happening.
Indian plum grows happily in Partial Shade, not needing the prime Full Sun real estate that I protect for really showy plantings. It’s common across the coastal Pacific Northwest below Vancouver Island.
When we lived on Cedar Hill, there was a large suckering thicket behind our house, at the base of the rocky slope. The robins nested in the multiple stems of the 12-15 ft tall thicket. The shrubs did their thing in the understory before the gary oaks hogged most of the sunshine through summer.
Perhaps best known as Indian Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis, is sometimes called June Plum, Osoberry, Oregon Plum and Bird Cherry.
It might sound like a promising fruit source, but those inconsequential flowers turn into inconsequential fruits. I’ve heard the berries shift through a pretty orange kaleidoscope before maturing into a dark purple-black, but I can’t say I’ve noticed. The shrub blends into the background as other plants compete for attention in later spring.
I did check out the un-inticing tiny black plums once.
Perhaps it’s best to consider it wildlife forage.
The early flowers feed hungry resident Anna’s hummingbirds e and signal that the Rufus will soon be returning from warmer climes. The leaves & fruit provide forage for birds, deer & other mammals. Isn’t it just good Karma to host a thicket?
As a kid I thought wild yarrow was a boring flower. Its helicopter-landing-pad flowers might be interesting to butterflies & other pollinators, but I couldn’t get past the bland white petals.
Little did I know, but there are varieties beyond our native wildflower. Just a block or so away from our current garden, a neighbour grows a striking stand of yellow yarrow (probably Achillea ‘moonshine’ in a very sunny, & dry border.
Now that I care for my own garden, I can appreciate a plant that rarely needs water or attention.
It rocks that our local deer left it alone when I added it to our landscape.
It was an additional bonus that, after cutting back the flowering stems in autumn, a ferny mound of foliage remained evergreen.
More recently I saw a red-flowering yarrow (likely Achillea pomegranate). I’m not sure why I’d assumed our native yarrow was the only variety, but I’m delighted it isn’t.
There’s a place for this one in our garden, too. Even though the West Coast is a rain forest, very little of that rain falls in July or August. Tough ornamentals are treasures.
It’s good to note that if regularly irrigated, yarrow is a vigorous spreader. The easiest way to keep it in a manageable clump is to reduce irrigation. Easy-peasy. I can do that 🙂