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Meet our New Tree!

There’s a quote (dubiously) attributed to Martin Luther, “even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” It’s a message of choosing hope, even in the face of what might seem utterly hopeless. It is about faith. It suggests that we should believe in and work for a better future, even if we might not see it ourselves. 

Well, the last Sunday of April, in honor of Earth Month and Arbor Day, we put our hope into action and we planted a tree on the grounds of St. John. So, let me tell you a bit about it.


Name: Amelanchier x Grandiflora AKA Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

The Autumn Brilliance serviceberry is a hybrid of the downy and Allegheny serviceberry varieties, both native trees. It produces pleasantly fragrant, white blooms in April, leading to small fruits in June (hence another common name for the plant, Juneberry). The fruit are similar in size to a blueberry and have a taste reminiscent of blueberries, cherries, and almonds. The tree tends to not drop its fruit, making it lower maintenance than many other fruit tree varieties. The fruit can be used in pies or jams, or just eaten by the handful. 

The leaves start out with a slight bronze tint to them in the spring, developing into a deep green through the summer, before putting on a brilliant display of red to orange-red in the fall. 

This specific cultivar of serviceberry has excellent resistance to disease. Serviceberry plants in general don’t tend to have serious insect or disease problems. 


Thank you to the Reed girls, and Peter Haapaniemi for the help planting, and the rest of the crew who joined to give encouragement and support. Hopefully in a couple years we can share a serviceberry pie!

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