Snowberries… In Summer!
Monday 11th Sep 2017 – Flower of the week
Snowberries… The name says it best
Snowberries… In Summer! What madness! Well I suppose we are a bit mad here at Freddie’s Flowers. And don’t they look beautiful. Doesn’t it make the whole arrangement a bit… Va va Voom!
Snowberries also known as Symphoricarpos, a Greek expression meaning “fruits joined together,” from the clustered pairs of berries. To look at they remind me of the berry version of ornithogalums… Maybe?
A berry nice mix
Snowberries are originally from North America where it grows everywhere from forest to beaches, rocky slopes and thickets. It will also grow in many conditions including full sun to full shade. In the sun it will grow all dense and compact. In the shade it does the opposite, sparse and rather leggy. Hardcore or what?!
Despite not favoured by the Native Americans, snowberries were used in many ways such as hair soap, to soothe cuts and sores and the stems were made into arrow shafts and pipe stems. It was also planted to combat soil erosion on river beds.
It has a variety of wildlife values. It is great at providing shelter and cover for animals and also is used by them to nest. It also attracts beneficial insects. It is deer resistant and the flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
A plant with that many uses and benefits certainly seems to be a first rate shrub to me!
A little history
The snowberry has a rather good bit of history too!
Seeds and cuttings were saved and sent to President Thomas Jefferson from the Lewis and Clark exhibition in 1804 who planted them in his garden. The cuttings thrived and Jefferson said they had ”some of the most beautiful berries I have ever seen” who then sent them over to Europe. And that is how we have them today.
From Mammoths to berries…
Going back to the Lewis and Clark exhibition. You should really have a read about it as its very interesting indeed. In 1803 Thomas Jefferson (then president of America) sent Merriweather Lewis and William Clark on an exhibition to find a water route to the Pacific and explore the unchartered West. He believed woolly mammoths, erupting volcanoes, and a mountain of pure salt awaited them. What they found was no less mind-boggling. They discovered 300 species unknown to science, nearly 50 Indian tribes and the Rockies. That’s what I call a successful trip!
Born in the U.S.A
It seems like w’ve got a bit of a Native American theme going on in our arrangements at the moment. You might have seen our Mohican alliums in the other arrangement which get their name from their funky style that makes them look like they have a mohawk. The Mohicans were a Native American tribe from the North East America. Lewis and Clark wouldn’t have come across them on their travels however from many of the tribes they did come across they learnt from them about how plants could help for medicinal and eating purposes.