Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Princess Diana’

Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Princess Diana’ 
(am-uh-LAN-kee-er x gran-dih-FLOR-ah)
Syn. Amelanchier laevis ‘Princess Diana’; Amelanchier ‘Princess Diana’
Family: Rosaceae

Common name: apple serviceberry; hybrid serviceberry; seviceberry
Zone: 4 – 9
Height: 15 ft (4.5 m)   Spread: 12-15 ft (3.6-4.5 m)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: moist; acidic; well-draining
Water: regular     

Description: Reasonably small, deciduous, understory tree with finely-toothed, 3 inch (7.6 cm) long, oval-lanceolate leaves, emerging with bronze tints in spring, gradually changing to dark green though summer before changing a brilliant red to orange-red in fall. Showy white flowers appear in April followed by edible 3/8-inch (9.5 mm) diameter edible berries which are a deep red-purple when fully ripe in late June through early July.


Special Notes: Amelanchier spp. are native to North America. Amelanchier x grandiflora is a hybrid cross between A. arborea (downy serviceberry) and A. laevis (Allegheny serviceberry), two species of North American serviceberries.

‘Princess Diana’, one of several named cultivars in this Amelanchier species, is known for its abundant floral display of white flowers, wide canopy and its vibrant fall colour. It was discovered in the mid-1980s in a garden in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. A U.S. Plant Patent PP6,041 was issued on October 20, 1987.


Pests and Diseases: There are no serious insect or disease problems, although amelanchiers can occasionally have problems with powdery mildew, leaf spot, rust, fire blight and canker. So far, our tree has not experienced any problems whatsoever. (Touch wood.)


In our Zone 7a garden: We absolutely adore this small tree in the back garden! It resides in the shadow of the ancient transparent apple tree and is further shaded by the 12 ft (3.6 m) tall cedar hedge. Still, the flowers appear in April and there always seems to be enough bees around at that time to perform their pollinating duties.

I keep a close watch on the berries when they start to come as I like to pick them for my Serviceberry Cobbler. (Click here for the recipe.) I have to be quick because the birds love these berries too, especially the cedar waxwings who make a point of arriving in our garden to feast on the serviceberries. Often, I am picking berries from the lower branches while several cedar waxwings are enjoying them above my head.

While I have yet to make jam or jelly from serviceberries, it is reported to be quite good. Perhaps I will attempt these preserves next season as we do love our Aronia Berry Jelly and Oregon Grape Jelly.

One good piece of information to note: serviceberries can be picked before they are fully ripe as they will finish ripening if laid out in newspaper-lined beer flats.

Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit 2012


Posted on October 20, 2021



Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ 
(vie-BUR-num x bod-nan-TEN-see)
Family: Adoxaceae

Common name: viburnum
Zone: 5 – 7 
Height: 8 – 10 ft (2.4-3 m) Spread: 4 – 6 ft (1.2-1.8 m)
Aspect: full sun; part shade
Soil: moist; well-drained; acid
Water: moderate

Description: A medium tall, deciduous shrub with an upright, fairly narrow, multi-stemmed growth habit. Rosy-pink flowers are decorated with purple-pink anthers. Flowers appear on naked stems, before the leaves appear. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the bloom time is from late autumn through until early spring. In colder climates, Zone 6 and colder, bloom time is delayed until late winter. Towards the end of the bloom period, bronze-tinted, toothed, narrowly ovate leaves begin to appear. They will mature to a deep green colour as spring progresses. Come autumn, the leaves will begin to turn a delightful range of burgundy and red. The flowers in the meantime, have developed into red berries, called drupes, through the summer, maturing to black colour by autumn.


Special Notes: Most of the 150 – 175 species in the Viburnum genus are found throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. There are just a few species with a range which dips into the tropical mountainous regions of southeast Asia, Russia, Ukraine, and South America.

Speaking specifically about the hybrid Viburnum x bodnantense…it is a cross between Viburnum farreri and Viburnum grandiflorum, developed in 1934 – 1935 at Bodnant Garden in north Wales.

The cultivar ‘Dawn’ was a stand-out amongst ten seedlings being grown out…and set aside in 1935 by Charles Puddle who was head gardener to Lord Aborconway at Bodnant Garden.

Because of its early flowering time…which can start as early as late autumn and lasting through winter…this small tree benefits being placed in a spot which affords some frost protection, such as close to a hedge. Site it with as much sun as possible for a better floral display.


In our Zone 7a garden: We are fortunate our ‘Dawn’ usually starts its bloom sometime in November, early December. However, temperatures which dip closer to -5 °C (23 °F) as winter rolls through will affect blossoms. Our tree is planted up against our cedar hedge which does afford it some protection from the prevailing southeast winds.


November 2016: I suspect ‘Dawn’, as one of a very few plants which is in bloom right now in our garden, to be an encouraging reason for two Anna hummingbirds to remain in our neighbourhood through the winter for the very first time.


Posted on December 2, 2016


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