by Daisy

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IMG_2367I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s almost June.

If you don’t believe it either, the proof is in the ripening Juneberries.

I planted three Juneberry (Amelanchier) bushes three years ago. They’ve had a slow start not being in full sun, but they’re finally looking like they’re established and poised to give more than a token few berries by next year, especially if I keep them well-watered and give them a little boost this growing season with a bit of compost.

Juneberries are native to the northern hemisphere and are well-known in the north-eastern US and south-eastern Canada. Here in the Mid-South they’re not very well-known, but they seem to like it pretty well.

Like most native berries, they go by lots of names: Saskatoon, shadberry, and serviceberry are among the most common.

Mine is a ‘Regent’ Juneberry I got from Hidden Springs Nursery . Mature size is expected to be 4-6 feet wide, or as we say around here, 4-6 feet biggaround, and as tall as it is wide. They’re easy-care, not finicky about soil, and the berries are used just like blueberries.

The taste is a bit hard to describe. I suppose you’d say they are sort of like a slightly dry, less sweet blueberry. Also, the seeds are more assertive than blueberry seeds, in texture and in taste. While blueberry seeds have a tiny, flavorless, almost forgettable crunch, Juneberry seeds are slightly larger and fewer in number with a distinct almond flavor, but still completely edible and tender. Most reports say that Juneberries make delicious pies and jams, with the almond flavor coming into its own when cooked. They are less refreshing and juicy than blueberries, but they definitely have a place in the garden nonetheless.

The spring flowers are especially pretty, and they have red fall color and a pleasing, rounded form. They’re in the rose family, so they’re somewhat susceptible to the same problems as other pome fruit like apples and pears, but disease and pest damage is usually minor. So far, I haven’t had any disease problems with mine.

Sometimes it seems like the best crop is always going to be next year. Eventually, though, that good year does come. For now I’m enjoying the occasional taste of this new-to-me fruit and looking forward, as always, to a bumper crop. Someday.

What crop have you been waiting for?






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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kath May 24, 2014 at 6:18 am

Oh how great to read this – I planted one Amelanchier (I call them Serviceberries) last year and feared the worst through our gruesome winter, but alas it’s made it through alright, along with its two also-native also-edible neighbors! I can’t wait for crops on all of them.


Kate May 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I enjoyed reading your article. I planted 5 Carmine Jewel cherry bushes. This is year three and I am busting out with excitement…They actually are flowering… and I cannot wait until they form fruit. I want to gobble them up. Next year each bush will produce a min of 15 pds of cherries, The following year they will each produce 30 pds of cherries… My dehydrator will get a workout for sure! Then there is my favorite McIntosh apple tree… no blooms this year yet. Sigh.

Daisy May 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Kate–Ooo, looked those cherries up and they sound great. I have two baby Nanking cherries planted this spring, so I shouldn’t quibble. I always want more, though. Just one (or ten) more fruit plants, please!

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