August 16, 2017

A Bush Named Joel

The tag describing the Joel bush cherry at the Fedco Tree Sale

Janine Pineo Photo | The tag describing the Joel bush cherry at the Fedco Tree Sale

The Fedco Tree Sale is a bit of a misnomer. Sure, there are trees. Lots of trees. But there is everything else, too; from seeds to shrubs, perennials to annuals, you can find some of the most interesting plants at this annual two-day sale. This year, the Joel bush cherry caught my eye. This hybrid of Prunus japonica and P. jacquemontii was developed by the late Elwyn Meader of New Hampshire. He was looking for a cherry that would ripen later in summer and thus avoid the frosts in spring that can kill a crop here in the Northeast. It seems that birds do less damage to red fruit later in the season, implying that there is more around for them to consume or other pretty things to catch their eyes. The plant is hardy to Zone 3, is self-pollinating and will grow into a 4-foot tall and wide shrub. It can bear three to 4 quarts of fruit. And if all of that wasn’t enough to entice a person, the flowers in spring are pink, making it highly ornamental.