Our second new Shrub Bundle is the Small Yard Bundle. This bundle is a great choice if you don’t have enough space for a tree or large shrub, or if you’re just looking to fill in your yard a little bit more. All four shrubs in the bundle do well in full sun, and in sandy or loamy soil. Read on to learn more about each Small Yard shrub!
If your yard has full sun, with sandy, loamy, or even wet soil, the lowbush blueberry may be perfect for your space. Its average height and width at maturity are only two feet by two feet, so it doesn’t require much room to grow. This shrub is perhaps best known for its nourishing, delicious blueberries that mature in late summer or early fall. However, it also possesses other attractive features, such as its whitish-pink flower clusters in late spring, and the red to bronze autumnal colour of its leaves.
If you’re planning to eat the blueberries from your new shrub (or process them into jams, jellies, or pies), make sure you get to them before the wildlife does! Squirrels, birds, and various showy insects (like bees and butterflies) will appreciate the new addition to your yard just as much as you will.
The second shrub in our bundle, meadowsweet, does well in a variety of soil types (sand, loam, light clay, or wet conditions), but needs full sun to grow to its full potential – which, on average, amounts to four feet in height and four feet in width at maturity. This is another shrub that would do very well in a small yard!
Meadowsweet flowers bloom in mid-summer in dense, cone-shape clusters at the ends of each stem. The individual blooms are made up of five white petals surrounding pink centres, and are small, but fragrant. Native bees and butterflies love meadowsweet flowers, and the spring azure butterfly in particular uses meadowsweet as a host plant during its larval stage.
The leaves of this shrub can be boiled to make a tea, and turn from green to yellow in the fall. Fruit matures in early fall as small, dry, brown clusters of pods, each with a single seed inside. Although meadowsweet fruit is inedible, it often stays on the plant into early winter, providing a nice contrast to other bare shrubs.
The common snowberry is our most versatile shrub, growing well in all sun conditions (full sun, part sun, and shade), and all soil types (sand, loam, light clay, and dense clay). Like the meadowsweet, its average height and width at maturity is four feet by four feet, making it a great choice for small yards.
The snowberry is an interesting shrub because its leaves stay green throughout spring, summer, and fall (although they do get slightly paler during the latter season). As if to make up for this relative lack of fall colour, its berries stay on the shrub throughout the winter, providing late-season food to many birds. Berries are waxy, light green to white in colour, and grouped in clusters. They mature in late summer or early fall.
The snowberry flowers in early summer, its green leaves becoming dotted with small, bell-shaped, pink clusters. These flowers are attractive to native bees - so, planting a snowberry in your yard can encourage pollination throughout your entire local ecosystem. Who knew small yards could play such an important role?
St. John’s Wort
Last of the four small-yard shrubs, St. John’s wort reaches a mere two feet in height by three feet in width at maturity. It grows in a variety of soil conditions (sand, loam, or light clay), and can do well in full or part sun. It is also juglone-tolerant – good news, if you have a black walnut tree in your area!
St. John’s wort flowers are a bright and beautiful yellow and bloom in mid-summer. Their dozens of stamens provide pollen for a variety of native bees and butterflies. This shrub’s fruit – small, brown, oval capsules, each with many small, flattened seeds – matures in the fall and stays on throughout the winter. Leaves start out as bluish-green in the spring and turn yellowish-green in the fall.
In addition to these features, St. John's wort is also quite tolerant of urban pollution. So, if you have a small yard and you live in the middle of the city, this shrub is perfect for you!
These four shrubs show that you don’t have to have a big yard to cultivate beautiful biodiversity. By ordering our Shrub Bundle, you can add a variety of flowers, fruit, and fall colours to your yard, while supporting wildlife habitat and strengthening the urban forest. Contact us to get your Small Yard Shrub Bundle today!
The Small Yard Shrub Bundle is available while quantities last. Species substitutions may apply, based on availability.
Montanna Diakun is a graduate of the Masters of Forest Conservation Program at the University of Toronto and an ISA-certified arborist. She is currently Planting and Stewardship Intern at LEAF.
The Backyard Tree Planting Program is supported by the City of Toronto, The Regional Municipality of York, Toronto Hydro, Ontario Power Generation, The Town of Newmarket, The Town of Ajax, and OakvilleGreen.