TLW (The Little Woman) and I have a very difficult yard in which to grow stuff. It’s low. It used to be a swamp but heavy clay soil was imported to raise the grade. Still there is one low spot which subsides and traps water in spring or after heavy rains. It’s wide open to winter winds… We’ve planted a hundred trees and only a few survive. We’ve searched and I think found a species that can grow along this edge of the property, the high bush cranberry.
It’s not a cranberry at all but it does produce tasty red fruit which persists through winter. It’s Viburnum trilobum. It’s native to Canada and my earliest memories of it relate to my mother making gallons of jelly from the fruit. You could find it anywhere, in exposed fencerows, anywhere in the forest, and it loved to be at the edges of the swamps. It has a profusion of white flowers in spring and clusters of red berries at a good height for picking. Imagine that, toughness, versatility, beauty, privacy and delicious food all from a single plant!
Well, I won’t have that. I bought more than 1000 seeds and I intend to keep planting until I have enough shrubs. You guessed it. The perfect plant has one negative. Part of its toughness comes not from producing seed for next year but the year after… Yes, in Nature the seed lies dormant all next summer when it may sprout roots and nothing more. In the following winter seeds grow cotyledons which then emerge in a later spring. Being impatient I’ve a handful of seed stratifying in a bag of moist loam simulating summer. About April, I will place the bag in the refrigerator to simulate winter and plant the seeds in pots in June, saving my patience a whole year… 😉
So, in a year or two I will plant a row of these near perfect shrubs just as I did today with hardy grapes. If I live long enough, my pathetic yard will produce more flowers and fruit than all my neighbours combined. It’s all going to be good. BTW, the newest swath of grass seedlings have taken hold and more mud will grow much more than weeds next year.