Our favorite spring-blooming tree here at 317Grow is probably Serviceberry. The white flowers are a crowd-pleaser, the dark red berries are delicious, the fall color is unbeatable, and it's a native species for Indiana. It's hard to get much better than that. There are a few different species of Serviceberry growing in North America. The Canadian Serviceberry sticks closer to the east coast, while the Allegheny Serviceberry extends inland all the way to Minnesota and Iowa.
Flowering Quince starts blooming in shades of pink, salmon, white, and red in March before the leaves emerge. The flowers continue to shine as the foliage comes in, and then they develop into small, edible fruits with a tart taste. The shrub develops into a low, relaxed shape as it ages with an airy structure. Flowering Quince is a gorgeous addition to the spring landscape, but it is not for the low-maintenance garden. Root suckers need to be pruned back, leaf fungus can be a problem in wet seasons, and plants should be checked for fire blight from time to time.
I'm sure some of you have already gone out to start Christmas shopping, but we're going to hang out on Thanksgiving for just a few more minutes. Our recent fun with the edible garden projects at IPS schools has us inspired about plants and food, so today we're going to connect Thanksgiving and plants by talking about the Three Sisters.
This week two schools, William McKinley #39 and Global Prep Academy #44 at Riverside, opened learning gardens for their students. By the end of the project, nearly 100 schools in the Indianapolis area will have these urban gardens, thanks to the non-profit The Kitchen Community and 317Grow. The Kitchen Community has built hundreds of gardens across the country, connecting students to real food, increasing academic achievement and driving community engagement.
Chokeberry may not sound like a plant you want in your yard, but this medium-to-large native shrub has pleasant spring flowers, attractive (and edible!) berries, and simply stunning orange to red fall color. Chokeberries are available in two different species: red chokeberry and black chokeberry. As you may guess, one has red berries and the other has black berries (more of a very dark purple, really).
As we discussed last week, homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs are becoming increasingly popular in the home landscape for many good reasons. Growing your own food can save money, allow you to control the inputs for your food, and encourage people to interact with nature, and much more. Designated areas for edibles are common, but what if you don't have the space for a vegetable garden, or what if you don't like their stereotypical look?
The original motivation for cultivating plants was to produce food for survival and social stability. Humans and their gardens have come a long way since then. Throughout history, edible plants have woven in and out of the ornamental garden in different times and cultures. For most of us in the US today, aesthetics are the driving force in design, and we don't even consider edible plants unless we put them in a designated vegetable garden in the corner of the back yard.