The ubiquitous shrub (Amelanchier) is a popular landscaping plant in Balsam Mountain Preserve and an important source of food for native birds and animals – including bears! The first two years when the shrubs were immature – a few berries that chipmunks and birds feasted on. This year after a mild winter and lots of spring rains we have a bumper crop of berries and 15 foot tall bushes (they can grow to 30 feet or more). Yogi and BooBoo (see last week’s post) found our Amelanchier and made a mess of them. Lots of broken limbs and trampled plants in Janie’s garden areas:
There are four words of advice for our neighbors and potential neighbors; first DO NOT PLANT SERVICE BERRIES! That is unless you want Yogi and BooBoo in your yard or they are located where bears will do little ancillary destruction. The landscapers have a limited pallet of native plants to chose from but this one should be off the list. Second; if you have them, pick all the berries as soon as they are ripe (dark red or blue in color) and eat them.
They are actually good to eat and very sweet. Not as good as a ripe North Carolina blueberry, but very tasty. Janie made coffee cake from the first batch we picked last week and I am going to try my hand at making service berry muffins with the quart I picked today. I am going to try an electronic bear deterrent (motion detector and recorded dog barking) and see if that will keep them away until the birds finish off the remaining berries that I could not reach. I will let you know if it works.