As I have mentioned before I don’t really have the space for plants offering only 1 season of interest. As with any rule, there are exceptions. The exceptions to my “must have more than 1 season of interest” are 1) if it is a spring ephemeral, it may stay and 2) if it is edible I will consider a place for it in my landscape. The American Plum fits into the second category. This native (Prunus americana) small understory tree flowers the same time as Bradford Pears. Unlike Bradford Pears, the blooms of American Plum smell sweet and wonderful. Like the Bradford Pear, this tree can be found along roadsides, medians and in fallow fields. Unlike the Bradford Pear, it is supposed to be there. As I walked around my yard a couple of days ago, the scent of the flowers drew me in and I stood for quite awhile with my nose tucked into the white flowers. Continue reading
Over the past couple of weeks I have been noticing the insect life on the plants near me. So many times I interact with people interested in gardening for the beauty of the flowers and the value of vegetables for their dinner table. Little do they think about the value of the fruits of our garden to the smallest residents, the insects. Rarely, when they consider their newest plant for their garden do they consider the beauty of the bloom or the fragrance of the flower is meant to attract insects, and just happens to be appealing to us as well.
People get frustrated when caterpillars chew holes in leaves, when bees surround the flowers planted near walkways. But that is the purpose of the flowers. They are just doing their job! The same can be said for the insects. I run into students when I am teaching expressing grave concern regarding the bugs in their yard, asking what they can do to get rid of them. “Pave your yard“, is my internal answer. Not much thrives on asphalt. Being an educator, my actual answer is an explanation of the insect/plant connection and ultimately the insect/human connection. You know, how without insects, our lives would be much much harder. Really, you can’t have beautiful flowers without the bugs that go along with them.