Thursday, May 10, 2012

Return of the Shadbush

For years a serviceberry tree grew at the corner of our house here in the Shire.
It was a beautiful tree, with red-orange leaves in fall and
white blossoms followed by bright red berries in spring.
It grew outside of my home-office window,
and I always loved seeing the birds feeding on the berries.
Each spring, I watched as mother robins fed serviceberries
to their gawky, squawking baby birds;
and mockingbird mamas did the same for their young ones.

Here's the only photo I have with the serviceberry.
I wasn't even trying to get it in the picture, but I'm glad it's there.
The blossoms look like snow.

Our serviceberry, also called a Juneberry,
survived high winds from nor'easters that pushed it partly out of the ground.
It was a small tree, so we could just push it back in place.
Hurricane Isabelle pulled it completely over, but we pushed it back up and staked it.
It thrived for another decade until another tropical storm pulled it from the earth again.
But even through all of that  it kept growing; 
it grew against the house, the windows, and onto the small roof of the bay window.
But it had fewer flowers the next spring. Spider webs overtook it in summer, 
and it looked sadder in the fall. Its beauty and vitality never fully returned.

So last spring, after the last blossom fell and the last berries were gulped by the birds,
I agreed when my husband suggested he cut it down.
And he did. 
The house and roof looked much better, but when spring came this year,
I sorely missed the white flowers and the chirping baby birds.

And then...

I went out last week to photograph
our former serviceberry's companion blue hydrangea
that will be blooming soon.

And what did I see?

I know it doesn't look like much,
but here is my beloved serviceberry
pushing new leaves out from its root.

The growth is so small, it's probably going to look like a shrub for awhile.
So I guess I'll start calling it another of the serviceberry's names: a shadbush.

It's called that because the serviceberry tree is said to bloom each spring
when the shad fish return to the waters of the James River.
I hope this little shadbush hurries back too.

No comments: