When Canada comes to the garden



Even if thuja, Thuja occidentalis, is from Canada, let’s forget it! We have seen it too much, planted in multiple copies and cut into a green concrete hedge, ignoring biodiversity. On the other hand, if you have a large garden, nothing prevents you from planting one, to let grow as you wish. Because, not amputated each year by a secateurs or other violent cut-cutter, it reaches 20 m high, and it is a magnificent tree, with vigorous growth.

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Canada offers us a wide range of plants allowing us to create a living hedge, free, mixed, welcoming for small fauna, including bees, butterflies, birds, and squirrels. Even some ground cover plants accompanying the shrubs come from across the Atlantic.

Amelanchier canadensis

Let’s start with the serviceberry, ideal for small gardens where it rarely exceeds 5 m in height, it can also integrate the hedge if it is coppiced regularly. It then measures about 2 m. Serviceberry is admirable in all seasons. It doesn’t just display an elegant habit and dazzling, romantic white bloom in May.

Its fruiting, in June, is lovely… and delicious. The fall colors blaze, oscillating between bright orange and crimson red. It is in soft sun or light shade, in cool, neutral or slightly acidic soil that it is most beautiful.

► Aronia melanocarpa

This dense, bushy shrub does not exceed 2 m in height. It is above all for its sublime autumnal foliage that we plant thearonia. Indeed this small shrub bears simple, deciduous leaves, turning bright red in September. But we should not neglect the edible berries, red then black, slightly bitter, decorative and exquisite in jam.

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In spring, small white or pink flowers appear, grouped in corymbs. The plants, self-fertile, can be planted individually if fruit is to be obtained. Chokeberry prefers full sun, its fall colors being brighter and flowering more abundant, but it can grow in partial shade. Any good balanced soil is suitable for it. Size is not necessary.

► Cornus stolonifera

Cornus stolonifera, about which I spoke to you recently in the Cornus file, grows everywhere: in the sun, but also in partial shade or even in “real” shade, and in all soils, although it is more brilliant in fresh soil. It hardly exceeds 2.50 m in all directions, and is easily placed in a free hedge. We love it for its twigs, bare in winter, with bright colors. Adopt Cornus stolonifera Flaviramea : its bright yellow wood accentuates the buttery coloring of the autumn foliage.

► Symphoricarpos albus

You all know the symphorine. Who has never, child or adult, crushed with a sharp blow, to hear a joyful little click, the white balls of the snowberry, this plant so often used as a hedge? This 2 m high shrub, discreet throughout the year, even when it flowers in pink, honey-bearing mini-dots from spring to late summer, catches the eye in autumn when it is fruiting, in clusters. dense, and the deciduous bluish green leaves take on beautiful reddish tints.

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There are varieties with pink balls, which work wonders in bouquet. The care to be given to him? Sun and partial shade, any soil, even limestone, even compact. No drastic pruning: in March, remove dead branches and those that cross, giving a messy look to the shrub and rectify the habit

► Physocarpus opulifolius

A little less well known, this shrub appeals with its colorful fall foliage. Deciduous, easy to grow, accepting all soils, it measures up to 2 m high. I recommend a breathtaking variety: Diable d’Or, where gold, red and almost black purple are mixed.

In spring, the purple foliage becomes smeared with orange-yellow. From May to July, appear small white flowers, grouped in corymbs. In autumn, they turn into small red fruits speckled with green. In summer, the coppery hues disappear, and the leaves turn dark red again.

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Do you regret it? Take your pruning shears, cut each branch in half, and the new fire-colored shoots will quickly reform. But, then, no berries. A tip? Cut every other branch.

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Two charming ground covers

► Cornus canadensis

This small plant does not exceed 15 cm in height but can spread over 60 cm! It is a magnificent ground cover, with a nicely arranged foliage, and, in June, white bracts with green reflections taking on sublime colors in autumn. Fresh soil, humus and non-calcareous imperative! Mulching essential, and regular watering.

► Gaultheria procumbens

Easier to cultivate, to let live as it pleases, the lying wintergreen is a sub-shrub 15 to 20 cm high. It quickly forms a pretty carpet with small, shiny evergreen foliage, which is covered with white flowers in summer, then red mini-beads in autumn, lasting all winter. Plant it in partial shade, in non-calcareous soil, after adding compost.

And also…

There is insufficient space to describe other Canadian plants capable of forming a cocoon surrounding your garden. A small list, like that, at random, to complete?
Two hazelnuts: the long-billed hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) and the American hazelnut tree (C. americana) ; Viburnum trilobum ; Viburnum lentago ; Spiraea latifolia, or broad-leaved spirea; Hamamelis virginiana ; Canadian sambucus ; Ilex verticillata …

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