The tale of my morning glory tuteur has taken a new turn.
A few weeks ago, just after the first flower appeared, one of the three maple ‘legs’ of my tuteur snapped, possibly under the top heavy weight of the vines and, it turns out, developing flower buds. I watched with much fascination as, day by day, the top came down – I imagine the vines on the opposite side of the snapped leg kept it from toppling over all at once.
Now, it’s become a pretty cool arch. The vines continue to grow, now along the ground, reaching out in a widening circle of tentacles. And, lo and behold, a multitude of flowers are opening. In October. Just a few weeks before the normal first frost date.
Better late than never!
Snowberry. Doesn’t the name conjures up images of large, juicy, creamy berries produced after pollinators have spent the summer happily buzzing amongst fluttery, multi-petaled white flowers?
Then you add the botanical name, Symphoricarpos albus, and reality sets in. Latin can really be a buzzkill sometimes.
For me, the Snowberry is a memory pant — a shrub I remember from when I was a kid, lining (along with honeysuckle and blackberry canes) the rural road I walked along to catch the school bus.
There is absolutely nothing spectacular about this deciduous shrub, except perhaps that it’s native to almost all of Canada (and much of the U.S. as well) – that in itself should give it bonus points! The flowers are so small you need to be within a few inches for them to be noticeable. The berries are, indeed, white, but they are smallish, inedible for us and even unappetizing to birds.
This last tidbit may be why they stay on the bush into fall and winter, providing some interest when the rest of the landscape is grey or brown.
I like it because it grows well in my limestoney soil with no pampering or watering (even during last year’s prolonged drought, when the leaves drooped a lot but recovered nicely) and in the semi to mostly shade of the tree line (More berries are produced with more sun). Although they may sucker after a while they’re pretty contained, growing to maybe six feet high and wide. I can see them being a useful as a hedge or as a low visual barrier if you want to create a hidden patio; also a great shrub to fill in spots amongst trees if you don’t want to worry about grass or perennials yet want some greenery. And although it may be the food of last resort for birds, it does provide shelter for wildlife.
If you see this shrub at a garden centre and you have a bare spot in the yard consider Snowberry. Maybe create some memories of your own.
The Toronto Reference Library is the main branch of ” the world’s busiest urban library system,” with more than 1.2 million library cardholders and 30 million website visits per year. It’s on Yonge Street north of Bloor Street – uptown Toronto, on the edge of Yorkville, the glitziest (and most expensive) shopping neighbourhood in the city. The exterior is unremarkable – passerby would never know that on the other side of the brick wall is an expansive atrium, a multitude of computer stations, areas for reading, studying, researching, 3D printing, drinking really good coffee and, of course, stacks and stacks of books.
On the second floor facing west are a row of rectangular windows, each with two vertical panes jutting out and joining in a ‘V’ shape. This photo is the view straight through one of these windows to the construction site opposite (itself with its own empty frames of windows from a bygone era); it also captures reflections created on the angled windows of streets beside the library and a view of a lounge below the window.