Snowberry is great for landscaping a garden

Snowberry

The arching stems of snowberries bear abundant fruit clusters for birds to feast on each fall.

Berries form on the tips of dense branches of blue-green foliage. Recently introduced cultivars like ‘Scarlet Pearl’ (pictured) are especially noteworthy because of their larger, more colourful berries. With dense branching and a root system that spreads through underground runners, snowberries are vigorous enough to hold soil on slopes and banks of streams or serve as a tall ground cover and good for landscaping a garden

It also works well as hedging or a specimen in the landscape, particularly in shady spots where other shrubs have trouble growing. A North American native, it’s found in woodlands and prairies and tolerates poor soil, pollution, and windy sites.

Common name: Snowberry

Botanical name: Symphoricarpos spp.

Plant type: Deciduous shrub

Height: 6 feet

Zones: 3 to 7 and Coastal Zone 10

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Growing conditions

Sun: Sun to part shade

Soil: Does best in well-drained soil, but tolerates poor soil.

Moisture: Moderate

Care – landscape

Mulch: None or a thin layer (1 inch) of organic mulch such as wood chips, bark chips, or shredded leaves.

Pruning: Flowers on new wood, so prune lightly in early spring.

Fertiliser: None required

Cultivars

‘Scarlet Pearl’ has dark pink fruit and grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 3 to 7.

Charming Fantasy is a new cultivar with light pink fruit in the fall. Grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 3 to 7.

Garden notes

Perfect for a naturalised landscape designed to attract wildlife. Birds will eat the berries and find shelter in the dense branching.

Plant in shady spots or poor soils where other shrubs don’t thrive.

Because snowberry suckers, you need to thin it occasionally. Divide and transplant in the fall.

Pests and diseases

Anthracnose, powdery mildew, and leaf spots may occur.

Propagation

Take greenwood cuttings in the summer.

Take hardwood cuttings in late fall.

All in the family

The common coralberry (Symphoricarpos albus) has ½-inch, white fruit from September through November. Tolerant of drought and shade. Cultivars such as ‘Constance Spry’ have attractive fruit. Grows 3 to 6 feet tall. Zones 3 to 7.

Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii ‘Mother of Pearl’ has arching branches with prolific, white fruit. Grows 5 feet tall. Zones 4 to 7.

The coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) is a dense bushy shrub with bell-shaped flowers and purple-red fruit. Grows 6 feet tall. Zones 2 to 7.

Weigela, Viburnum, Sambucus (Elder), and Lonicera (honeysuckle) are all landscape shrubs related to the snowberry.

Landscaping With Blueberries

Landscaping With Blueberries

Whether you’re planning an edible landscape or just want a pretty shrub with multi season interest, blueberries fit the bill. Taller-growing blueberries make a nice border or group planting, while half-highs look great edging a walkway or patio. Low bush blueberries make a handsome ground cover, especially in naturalised areas or sites with sandy, nutrient-poor soils.

If you already have acidic soil—or are able to modify the pH in a large planting bed— combine blueberries with other acid-loving shrubs such as azaleas, rhododendrons, mountain laurel, Japanese pieris, heaths and heathers, fothergilla, bayberry, camellias, and many hollies.

And of course, blueberries are a perfect addition to bird- friendly gardens—they’ll be a hit with robins, waxwings, bluejays, catbirds, and other fruit-loving birds.

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Padron Pepper

You know there are sweet peppers and hot peppers, but did you know about Padron peppers? These little peppers are named for the Spanish town Padrón, where they are popular as appetisers or tapas. They’re harvested at an immature stage, when they’re still green and only 1 to 2 inches long. At this size they are mild (except for the occasional spicy one) and delicious. If they grow just a little bigger, they become fiery hot. Until recently, it was difficult to find Padron peppers in the United States and Canada, but no longer. Now this delicacy can come from your own back yard. 

Common name: Padron pepper, pimiento de padron

Botanical name: Capsicum annuum

Plant type: Annual or tender perennial

Zones: 9 to 11 (typically grown as annual)

Height: 2 feet

Family: Solanaceae

Growing conditions

Sun: Full sun

Soil: Rich, well-drained, humusy

Moisture: Medium to moist 

Care

Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture and stymie weeds.

Pruning: None needed.

Fertiliser: Add 1 inch of compost when planting and use liquid fertiliser once or twice in a season.   

Propagation

• By seed

Pests and diseases

• Spider mites or aphids may cause some damage.

• Vulnerable to grey mould, fungal spots, and stem rot.

Garden notes

• Plant Padron pepper plants in the garden when both day and night temperatures stay over 50°F. This date will vary widely depending on what region of the country you’re in. Harvest peppers 65 to 80 days from transplanting in the garden.

• Harvest the peppers when they’re green and 1 to 2 inches long. At this size they’re still sweet and flavourful. (But beware: some will be spicy, even when small.) Ones that grow larger will get red and very hot.

• To make your own tapas with Padron peppers, sauté the peppers in olive oil until lightly charred, then sprinkle with salt. Eat while warm. 

All in the family

• Other members of the Solanaceae family include edible plants—tomato, potato, and eggplant—and popular garden flowers like brugmansia, datura, and petunia. The family also contains Nicotiana, the genus that contains cultivated tobacco plants as well as annuals grown for their fragrant flowers.