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Archive for ‘July, 2017’

St. Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre is committed to promoting biodiversity through the growth and wholesale of native Ontario plant species. Our plants are great for any large-scale gardening, or landscaping project, boasting subtle, yet crucial benefits, such as: the promotion of pollinators, like bees, which is of growing importance as the bee population continues to fall. While the less obvious benefits of planting native are certainly important, did you know that many of our species are actually edible? It’s true, some of the plants that we offer are not only beautiful, but delicious as well, and we’ve put together a list of the top five edible species that we offer to make your garden as tasty as it is attractive.

1. American Plum Plant (Prunus americana)

American Plum Plant

The American Plum is a small, single trunk tree or multi-stemmed shrub with a broad, spreading crown. As a shrub, it suckers freely, and can form large colonies. Clusters of white flowers appear before the foliage. Flowers are followed by delicious, round, red plums with bright yellow pulp, which ripen in early summer.

2. Common Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)

A globular shrub with tightly clustered basal stems. Upright branches become arching with age. Small white flowers in conical spikes are followed by clusters of pea-sized, red berries. Stems, roots and foliage are poisonous if eaten but the berries may be consumed as jelly or wine after cooking. The dense root system makes it useful for soil stabilization and erosion control on moist sites.

3. Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)Black Chokeberry is an open, upright, spreading deciduous shrub featuring clusters of white flowers in spring which are followed by blackish purple, blueberry-sized fruits. Lustrous, dark green foliage turns an attractive purplish red in autumn. Although technically edible, the fruits are extremely tart and bitter, and are not recommended for eating off the bush, but may be used for making tasty jams and jellies.

4. American Hazel (Corylus americana)American Hazel (Corylus americana)

American hazelnut is a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub with showy male catkins (flowers) and inconspicuous female catkins in early spring. Female flowers give way to small, egg-shaped, edible nuts (maturing July-August) which are encased in leafy, husk-like, ragged-edged bracts. The nuts are delicious, and as an added bonus, the plant is eaten by many birds and small mammals, making it an excellent promoter of biodiversity.

5. Round Leaved Serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea)

 Round Leaved Serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea)Round-leaved Serviceberry is a deciduous, early-flowering, large shrub or small tree with showy, fragrant, white spring flowers. Summer fruits resemble miniature apples and are reddish to purple when mature. The fruits can be eaten, and the spring pollen and nectar produced by the plant are an excellent source of food for bees, which as we mentioned earlier, is very important.

As you can see, we offer quite the variety of edible species, whether the plant yields a fruit to be eaten directly, or berries that can be cooked into a jam. Providing edible plants is just one more way that St. Williams is helping you to improve your gardening or landscaping projects.

For more information on products offered at St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre, make sure to stay tuned to stwilliamsnursery.com, and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @stwilliamsnrsry for up to the minute blog posts and product updates.

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By now, you may have already read our Species Profile for the Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum). For your convenience, we’ve compiled some information as a reference.

Here are the Fast Facts:

Hardiness Zone: 4-8
Height: 1-1.5 feet; 0.3-0.45 metres
Spread: 0.25-0.5 feet; 0.08-0.15 metres
Sun: Full to part sun
Water: Medium
Wildlife: Various bees and some butterflies are attracted to the flowers of this plant.
Bloom colour: Pink
Tolerates: Dry soil, drought
Culture: Prefers moist to average moisture soil consisting of rich loamy, rocky, or sandy soil.

We hope these Fast Facts have been helpful. To learn more about the Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) click here!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @Stwilliamsnrsry for all the latest news about our products and featured native species!

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Noteworthy Characteristics

The Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) has erect, smooth flowering stalks that rise above the Nodding Wild Onion basal leaves. They can range in colours anywhere from light green to light red. The basal leaves are linear, flat and have parallel veins making for a pleasant, symmetrical look. The stalk ends in a production of nodding clusters of flowers – where the species derives the English name ‘Nodding’ Wild Onion. While the flowers are not apparently fragrant, when crushed, the foliage will exude an onion-like scent. After the blooming period, the flowers will give way to seed capsules.

Garden Uses

Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) will look great in any garden. It’s drought tolerant, it thrives in compact soils, and grows in tidy, short clumps, meaning it’s ideal in a mixed perennial border or rock garden. During the mid-summer months, each clump produces inflorescences, or scapes – a long, leafless flower stalk coming directly from a root – topped with a nodding umbel of whitish pink flowers.

Bee Friendly

Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) supports a variety of generalist pollinators including native bees, which is an increasingly important attribute as we strive to protect the dwindling bee population.

Tasty Facts

Nodding Wild Onion FactsThis species is a wild relative of the culinary onions, garlic, chives, leeks and shallots. The leaves and flowers are edible, and taste quite similar to green onions. While they can be eaten raw, they’re a mite tough. They’re best enjoyed sautéed.

This species is rare in Ontario, growing only in alvar habitat on Pelee Island, so don’t delay, add this unique specimen to your garden today!

To inquire about availability please call 1 866 640 8733 or email sales@stwilliamsnursery.com

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