Amelanchier lamarckii ripe and unripe fruits on branches.

As the saying goes . . . April showers bring May flowers! And – WOW – there are so many blooms bursting right now! 

If you want a piece of the action, these are the top 3 for your yard. 

  1. Redbud – Cercis canadensis
  2. Tina Crabapples – Malus sargentii ‘Tina’
  3. Serviceberry –  Amelanchier canadensis

The Redbud is a solid performer (as we like to say in the biz) and does very well in Chicagoland. It’s such a beauty with its bold color and unique flower. If you like a classic white, you’ll want Redbud ‘Alba.’

Tina – wow, is she tough, showy, and fragrant and will thrive in city conditions, particularly Chicago’s dense clay soil and air pollution. (I feel like she’s a soul sister of mine!) The small apples that are produced are rarely used in cooking but are one of the most compact nuggets of nutrients in the fruit world. They FAR out way any health benefits hybridized apples offer. 

Funny enough the name says it all. Serviceberry trees produce a delicious berry that can be eaten right from the tree or quickly turned into jams or used in baking. (Get it – they serve you – ha!) They don’t travel well which is why they’re not common in markets.

If you’re thinking about your rooftop, stick with Tina or the Serviceberry, but know they’re going to need some good size containers (i.e. lots of soil). 

Spring blooms are so refreshing after a long winter, so if you have the opportunity, soak them all in on your next walk. 

Sara J-S

P.S. If you’re interested in seeing what other trees work in small, urban gardens  download our PDF that outlines the best options. Topiarius Tall and Skinny Tree Guide.

Redbud – Cercis canadensis
Eastern redbud tree in full bloom with sprinkling of wildflowers in the surrounding grass.
Redbud – Cercis canadensis
Tina Crabapples – Malus sargentii ‘Tina’
Sargent crabapple 'Tina' (Malus sargentii)
Tina Crabapples – Malus sargentii ‘Tina’
Amelanchier lamarckii ripe and unripe fruits on branches, group of berry-like pome fruits called serviceberry or juneberry, green leaves
Serviceberry –  Amelanchier canadensis
Amelanchier grandiflora, Shadberry, June berry, Serviceberry  in permaculture garden.
Serviceberry –  Amelanchier canadensis


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