Serviceberrys Everywhere!

Have you ever noticed when you purchase something, all of a sudden you start seeing it everywhere? Buy a Ford Focus, and all of a sudden it seems like everyone is driving one, dye your hair red, and suddenly your sister feels the need to as well.

I planted my Serviceberry (or Amelanchier for my British friends) Allee last fall after thinking long and hard about what tree to use. 

This is what it looked like this spring,

Has someone written a book or magazine article about how great they are? Suddenly I am seeing them everywhere, and this is downtown Toronto, not a small town or out in the country.

For example:

This condo has just been built across from St. James Park at Adelaide and Jarvis. Look at what the landscaping firm has planted in the front.

Ok, one of them is not very happy, but I am sure the landscaping company is going to do something about that.

Another condo at Adelaide and Church has just installed these planters, look at the tree, recognize it.

Here is what they look like on the street.

Speaking of streets, the City of Toronto is starting to plant serviceberries on the street, great for the birds.

They are such a great all around tree all year long.

This small parkette is at Parliament and Adelaide. Look at the back row!

All these were found less than five minutes from my condo.

Have serviceberries  become trendy on the east side of downtown Toronto, or are landscapers just realizing how beautiful and hardy they are, a great tree!

36 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    gardeningasylum said,

    Hi Deborah, I do like them in theory, just never got great results appearance wise. Maybe they are better in a mass planting like yours…

  2. 3

    Edith Hope said,

    Dear D, You are so right, fashions do come and go and this does seem to be particularly the case in the world of gardening. It would indeed be interesting to know how this comes about. In the meantime, I blame everything on THE MEDIA!

    Amelanchiers have always been a favourite of mine, not least because they offer such a long period of interest and have such a graceful habit. I understand your difficulties at present with planting in containers, but I know of many instances where Amelanchiers have made excellent pot grown trees.

    The stree plantings that you feature here look most attractive. How reassuring to feel that town planners are ‘greening up’ public spaces for people to enjoy.

  3. 5

    Jenn-na-na said,

    Hi there!

    I’ve recently fallen in love with the serviceberry myself. I think it’s a question of exposure. I happened to be at a big box in Spring and they were selling Amelanchiers with a tag stating it was a native plant of Quebec (and a few other areas) and they’re hoping to reintroduce it into the gardening world. It was quite modestly priced which might factor into it’s seeming sudden popularity.

    • 6

      I think that nurseries have just started playing up the native aspect of the tree. It is usually finished flowering by the time everyone rushes off to the garden centres, and it is not as showy as a lot of other spring flowering trees.

  4. 7

    Laurrie said,

    It is funny how you start to notice a particular plant everywhere, once you focus on it! I agree with Cyndy at gardening asylum, the serviceberries in Connecticut are yucky. They are always affected by cedar apple rust and look like they are in decline all the time. But you said you are not bothered by the rust, and yours look so great. And the fact that Toronto is planting them as urban street trees means they must have good results with them too. I look forward to seeing your allee in the coming seasons!

  5. 9

    Turling said,

    I chalk it up to you being a trendsetter. Every time you see one, tap whoever is next to you on the shoulder and say, “I started that trend, you know”.

  6. 11

    Racquel said,

    That is so true when it comes to cars etc… 😉 But maybe the reason you are seeing them everywhere is that now that you have them you notice them more, lol. 😉

  7. 15

    barry said,

    The truth is that landscapers, or landscrapers as I like to call them, have a notoriously limited knowledge of plants. The same can be said of most landscape architects.

    There is probably a glut of well grown Amelanchiers at the moment and these folks are taking advantage of the ease of availability.

    However, you Deborah are growing them because you love them, whereas to the landscapers they are just a commodity.

    • 16

      Hear, hear, Barry. When I took a landscape architecture course at Ryerson, the prof admitted how limited his range of plants was, he basically had a few that he used over and over again.

  8. 17

    Marguerite said,

    how funny, I just discovered serviceberry for the first time this year and that was due only to wonderful information provided by a local native plant nursery. Haven’t seen these at all otherwise. I bought several but mine are just tiny at this point and hidden among the grass.

  9. 19

    teza said,

    They are indeed a fabulous tree, but to me they need a specific location in order to fully come into their true spectacular element. Barry speaks well to the trends that indeed border on gluttony where landscrapers are concerned. I am still reeling from a company of men in flourescent yellow shirts who snatched up my beloved Cornus alternifolia ‘Argentea’ because, ‘it has cool leaves!’ Have you ever asked one of them to pronounce Amelanchier? This is the only way they are allowed to buy them from me. If you can’t pronounce it, you sure as hell cannot grow it! LOL!!!

    You my dearheart, know where they will not only thrive, but will add beauty and majesty to the landscape. Downtown Toronto is not good enough for this tree! Am I ranting D? LOL!!!

    • 20

      T, I did not know that you had Cornus alternifolia ‘Argentea’ at your nursery, I would have walked there to get one if I had to!
      I do not think that these “landscapers” know much about trees, sometimes I wonder if they even care, they are leaving the plastic name tags on.

  10. 21

    Gloria Bonde said,

    I fell in mail order love with “Amelanchier” but alas, I planted it many years ago and it barely lives. Teza is so right, it has to grow in its correct location.

  11. 23

    debsgarden said,

    Hmmm, maybe a city landscaper happened to read your blog! Who knows, you may be the source of the newest landscaping craze! How true it is that landscapers and developers follow trends, just like people wear the current fashion or paint their walls the newest colors. But I’ve always thought planting a garden, as well as decorating a home, should be based on what is most suitable, rather than what is currently popular!

    • 24

      Hee, hee, that would be so funny Deborah. They do follow trends, they want everyone to live in their ‘cool’ condo. But after, the poor landscaping starts to suffer with uncaring staff looking after it.

  12. 25

    Town Mouse said,

    Yes, I have noticed that I see things after I purchased them — except I usually forget to snap photos. Thanks for showing us all.

  13. 27

    They must be following your blog, and stolen your idea!!! On the bright side, you will be able to enjoy the trees even when you aren’t at KG..

  14. 29

    sequoiagardens said,

    Ha, Deborah! You just didn’t realise how many influential Torontans follow your blog! 😉 LOL

  15. 31

    dorsetmichael said,

    Hi Deborah, I find the amelanchier so graceful and delicate and good for growing shrubs beneath its dappled shade such as skimmia japonica. my (english) textbook also gives it the name of juneberry, shadbush, and snowy mespilus and that it enjoys a lime-free soil, thanks for the post….

  16. 33

    fairegarden said,

    Your allee is coming along so nicely, Deborah! I am gladdened to see the serviceberry used extensively around your area. It will grow well here and would be the perfect substitute for the weak Bradford Pears that our town will simply not give up on having as the street trees. When whole rows of them die from branch breakage in high winds, they just keep planting the same pitiful pears when the serviceberry would be so much better. I believe a letter to city hall is in order! Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    • 34

      Frances, Toronto has planted a few Bradford Pears here as well, they are an attractive tree, and I think the columnar shape is appealing as a street tree. But, as you said, they are very weak, and that will just cause a lot of problems down the road. Write that letter!

  17. 35

    Wendy said,

    you started a trend! These trees look really pretty with the berries on them like in your second to last photo. I love the dark containers on the street next to the stark building. But yeah, you’re so right about noticing it everywhere once you’re invested.

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