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Dig Amelanchier

Blimey it’s April already and time for my third musing from down the garden path. Each month I, Leigh Abbosh, Founder of Leaf & Dig ( will bring you a timely horticultural topic with gardening tips, interesting facts, and inspiring places to visit. So get yourself something to drink. Head to a comfy chair. And dig this. This month, we dig Amelanchier lamarckii. As winter moves into spring, the pivotal role of trees in our gardens is plain to see. Their branches provide structure in the winter months, while everything else is sheltering under the soil, and then in Spring those trees that blossom provide colour at height above the low carpet of spring bulbs. And in my opinion, there is no harder working tree than Amelanchier lamarckii, or common name Snowy mespil. Originally ranging from Alaska in the USA to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Canada, the species gets its name from the French biologist and naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck who first referenced it in 1783. It was introduced into Europe in the nineteenth century. It’s a relatively small tree growing to a maximum of 7 meters, but more likely 4-5m in 10 years. But it's the year round interest that makes it so appealing.

The show starts in April when the silver tinged leaves start to unfold and the buds break into a stunning mass of white, lightly scented, star shaped flowers. The leaves open to a pale copper-bronze colour. Can there be a more striking spring display?


In June, small pale red/purple/black

berries adorn the tree giving rise to some calling this tree the Juneberry. The berries are edible but you’ll have to be quick as the birds find them just as tasty as we do.

Image: Hopes Grove Nurseries

As autumn approaches, the leaves of Amelanchier lamarckii move on from their rich green colour and go for their third outfit change of the year, turning a rich red and orange.


Even in the winter months, the dark branches of Amelanchier provide an interwoven structure that look stunning lit from below, particularly if you go for the multi-stem variety. So there you have it. A tree that will provide year round interest. Is easy to care for. And suitable for all types of garden, be it in a formal urban garden or relaxed planting in the lawn or woodland setting. And before Tom asks, yes you can grow Amelanchier lamarckii in a pot but go for the largest pot possible. Thanks Leigh! Whilst there are plenty of online shops that you can buy trees from, if you are looking for a specimen tree that will be a focal point of the garden then it really is worth going to pick out the right tree in person and getting specialist advice for your specific requirements. Visiting a tree nursery or attending a show for inspiration and to meet different suppliers are great ways to do this.

Chew Valley Trees A treasure trove of trees, from 20cm whips to 30ft semi-mature trees, you are sure to find something to suit your needs at this Bristol based nursery. They have over 10,000 plants in stock, most of which are British grown, and their staff are experts in all things trees. Leaf Creative As they say on their website, Leaf creative is a place where “design, plants and people come together”. As you arrive in the carpark of Leaf Creative, it is clear this is no ordinary garden centre as you are immediately met by an array of semi-mature specimen trees in huge containers. Step inside and you will find established feature displays, specimen trees, quality plants and a restaurant with alfresco tables surrounded by mature trees and plants. What’s more, it’s only a 30min drive from Tom’s Yard so you could visit both in one morning! RHS Malvern Spring Show Tickets are now on sale for the RHS Malvern Spring Show which is on the 5th-8th May. I’ll be heading over during the weekend, so maybe see you there.

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