Shrubs in the hood

Serviceberry and tulips, © 2013 Celia Her City

At this time of year, each fancy high-rise seems to be in competition with all others to be the most lovely.  Gardeners are out daily primping the grounds, tweaking the seasonal shows they’ve dreamed up to show off the special structural elements of their property.  This place on Oakdale near Sheridan makes beautiful use of its boxed-in site, dressing up what could be a dismal patch of neglected shade with these nice old native shrubs known as serviceberry.

Serviceberry flower © 2013 Celia Her City

The serviceberry has an unsensational flower, which nonetheless contributes to its beauty.  If properly pruned, the serviceberry grows into a elegant small tree, and can be happy, as in this case, even in urban settings where it gets little light.

The bark of the serviceberry looks good with vinca © 2013 Celia Her City

Smooth grey bark is one of the serviceberry’s chief glories.  It looks great with dark evergreens and with ground-covers like vinca.  Every year I look forward to seeing the tulips flowering under these trees.

sourcherryboughAnother tree I love looking at on Oakdale is this sour cherry.   It is a standout specimen tree, whose colors pop against the backdrop of this old white rowhouse.  Its buds form at the end of longish stems.  They are a beautiful peachy pink color.

Sour cherry tree, © 2013 Celia Her City

The tree has a spare open shape, so that the blossoms and fruit always stand out clearly, like ornaments hanging on a Christmas tree.

Sour cherry blossoms, with cherries from the previous season, © 2013 Celia Her City

In the winter, the tree is covered with brilliant red cherries, which must be very sour, because they remain uneaten even as the tree begins another year.

The safe house

The safe house (Credit: Celia Her City)

I like the appearance of this house, because it achieves a “Christmasy” look so effortlessly.   Most of the effect comes from illuminating the natural beauty of the formal evergreens, to which have been added a few strings of seasonal lights.  The windows and doors of the first floor are decorated with traditional evergreen swags, though at night they’re difficult to see.  This house is beautiful and impressive in all seasons.

Bare ornamental

Bare ornamental

A weeping ornamental does its work in Hyde Park.  The neighborhood is fretted with many such scenes: trees, once covered with the delicate blooms of spring, now dried up and naked; ivy-veined walls, stripped of their bright cloaks of leaves.  Evergreens, newly powerful, smugly come into their own.  Death mats the garden beds.  Stillness grips all.