I love Serviceberries (Amelanchier canadensis), or Saskatoon Berries as they are sometimes called. The fruit tastes wonderful and makes great pies; the flowers are white and delicately fragrant in the spring; and the leaves are a beautiful red in the fall.
This is why I decided to try and grow some Serviceberries from seed last fall, collecting seeds from two very nice specimens in my neighbourhood, and working from Henry Kock’s Growing Trees from Seed, a book I have posted about before. This is also why I went through the painstaking process of teasing the prematurely germinated seedlings apart and planting them in my seedtable this spring. I was able to plant a whole tray of thirty-two seedlings, and I was eagerly anticiapting my own Serviceberry grove in ten years or so.
Unfortunately, the seedtable was initially placed in my basement, and the temperature was apparently not warm enough, because every one of those thirty-two seedling withered and died in a matter of week. I moved the seedtable upstairs immediately, but the damage had been done, and I had no recourse but to console myself with the knowledge that I could collect more seeds in the fall.
A few weeks ago, however, I noticed some strange seedlings mixed in among the yarrow that I had planted very shortly after the Serviceberries. They were quite definately not yarrow, but they were also quite definitely not the little weeds that creep into potting soil when it is reused over time. I decided to let them be, and it quickly became clear that they were in fact Serviceberry seedlings. I had taken the soil in which the Serviceberry seeds had been stratifying all winter and mixed it back into my potting soil, and this discarded soil must have contained at least a few seeds that had not germinated but still could.
So now, against all hope, I have five Serviceberry seedlings.