Thursday, April 15, 2010


Blooming shadbush herald the first run of American shad migrating upstream to spawn in New England rivers. The early blooms also mark the beginning of planting season, which feels a little early this year. The silvery shad are not running yet, and certainly run in far fewer numbers if at all, compared to historic times. Dams and pollution messed up their migratory paths. But the shadbush are in full flower, regardless of the fate of the shad.

In late afternoon, as the sun drifted toward the horizon, I set out with Kodi for a walk. We barely made it to the end of the driveway when he yawned and sat. He was tired. Today he went to the Yellow Dog Barn for a half-day of doggie daycare. There he played with 15 other dogs and was surely overwhelmed on his first day as new dog in the school.

Since Kodi was drowsy I put him back in his car crate where he drifted off to sleep. I set out on my own for a walk-about the neighborhood in pursuit of the flowering shadbush. The small tree or large bush grows in slightly moist soils at the edge of fields and pastures and along roads. Not far from home I found a half dozen in bloom. The flower clusters snow white beneath an April blue sky.

Amelanchier canadensis is known by many names -- shadbush, serviceberry, Juneberry. By whatever name you choose it is the shrubby plant sprouting pure white flowers in mid-April.

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