Photo and article by Donna Iverson
Looking for a plant to fill in around driveways or lawn edges? Or maybe replacing part of the lawn itself? Bearberry may fit the bill.
A native perennial evergreen, Bearberry is a member of the Heath family. It is native to North America, Finland and Russia. As a ground cover, it can survive where other plants can’t. Extremely hardy, it grows in poor soil as a small creeping vine-like plant. Once established, it is tolerant of salt and drought.
In May, it produces pink flowers which turn into red berries by fall. As well as a ground cover, it would be a good addition to a native plant garden. Companion plants might include coneflowers, coreopsis, liatris, sedums and goldenrod.
In the wild, Bearberry grows along woodland edges. You can identify it by its shiny alternate leaves and reddish stems. It is sometimes referred to as a subshrub as it sends up 6 inch shoots. If you are a forager, its berries are edible but mealy and somewhat tasteless. Herbalists recommend small quantities to be on the safe side.
Bearberry was called Kinnikinnick by Native Americans who smoked it along with a mixture of sage, mint, cover and Willow tree bark. It was also used medicinally to treat bladder problems.
Doodling Artist, Michigan Author, & More in April at Fremont Library
“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”- Albert Einstein
The Fremont Area District Library is planning to host several fun and educational events in April for the whole family. These events are FREE, as always.
Live @ the Library, a series of events including author visits and special presentations is welcoming local artist and graphic designer Victor Du Bois for Doodling Fun. Learn how to doodle whimsical and spontaneous caricatures, words, patterns, abstract and more! Materials provided free. Please register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, but walk-ins are welcome. For ages 10 & up on Saturday, April 15th at 10:00 a.m.; lasting 2 hours.
Live @ the Library will also welcome Michigan Notable author John Wemlinger. In The Cut, named a 2022 Michigan Notable Book, Alvin Price and Lydia Cockrum literally bump into one another in the summer of 1870 and fall in love. Coming from vastly different backgrounds, their relationship encounters struggle amid the feuding farmers and powerful lumber industry in Manistee, Michigan. Additionally, a terrible storm on October 8, 1871 will sweep across the upper Midwest, setting off fires in Chicago and dozens of other cities, including Manistee. Will their love endure? Wemlinger will also answer questions and have books available to purchase and sign at this event on Thursday, April 20th at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Room.
Toddler Storytime, for babies and toddlers up to age 3, will be held on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. until April 12th, and Family Storytime for children up to age 5 will be held on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. until April 13th. Saturday Storytime for children up to age 5 will be on April 29th at 11:00 a.m. We’ll also be showing a Children’s Afternoon Movie on Thursday, April 27th at 3:30 p.m. Snacks will be served, and all are welcome.
Fit for Life Exercise is on Mondays at Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00 p.m. This is a low-impact exercise class perfect for all adults and levels of fitness. PLUS, we are now offering a Fit for Life Stretch & Walk Class on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. Junk Journaling for ages 10 and up will take place on Thursday, April 13th anytime between 6:00-8:00 p.m. This is a scrapbooking and journal hybrid. Use up what you have and supplement with found, recycled, repurposed and thrifted items. Materials provided. We’ll show the movie Father Stu for our Movie Monday on April 10th at 2:00 p.m. (PG-13; 124 min). Snacks will be provided.
The Wednesday Readers Book Group will meet on Monday, April 10th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott. The Non-Fiction Book Discussion will meet on Monday, April 17th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo. The new Young Adult Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, April 25th at 4:00 p.m. by the north fireplace. Book title is yet to be determined. The group will eat pizza while discussing their book, and new people are welcome to join anytime, even if you haven’t read the book! Both high school students and adults are welcome to join this book group. The Daytime Book Group will meet on Thursday, April 27th at 12:30 p.m. Books for all of these groups are available at the library’s front desk ahead of the meeting if you’d like to check out a copy and join the groups.
For more information about any of these events, please contact the library at 231-924-3480 or visit www.fremontlibrary.net.
Photo and article by Donna Iverson
Red Cedar will surprise you. First, it’s the only native evergreen growing wild through the Midwest, including Michigan. And it’s not a cedar, it’s a Juniper, (Juniperus virginiana).
Red Cedar is one of four plants sacred to the Native Americans. The others are sweetgrass, tobacco, and sage.
Often planted as a landscape shrub, Red Cedar trees grow to about 18 feet in twenty years. The native shrub/tree likes full sun and can tolerate dry soil. In fact, it is extremely drought resistant. Red Cedar makes a great windbreak or visual barrier if one is needed.
In the wild, it is found along woodland edges, on prairies, in meadows and pastures, where farmers often remove it because it sucks up groundwater. It is a succession tree, meaning it is one of the first trees to grow in land marred by fire or land clearing.
A member of the Cypress family, it is not related to the ancient cedars of Europe which are members of the Pine family. The Cedars of Lebanon mentioned in the Bible are now an endangered species.
You can identify the Midwest native cedar by its flat triangular leaves which have scales. The bark is reddish brown and female plants have blue berries, which are actually the seed cones.
The wood is used to make pencils, fences, furniture, paneling and log cabins. The wood repels pests and mold. Young wood produces an aromatic oil that is used in medicine. It is a vital food source for cedar waxwings.
It attracts other birds and mammals as well, who seek out its berries, shelter, and nesting spots. Rabbits are especially fond of hiding underneath its branches. On the downside, it repels bees and butterflies so if you are focusing on pollinators, best to avoid planting Red Cedars.
As for foragers, Red Cedar is a wild edible. But beware. There are several toxic lookalikes….Juniperus sabina and Juniperus oxycedrus, but if you are sure that what you have is Juniperus virginiana, then it’s twig sprigs can be used for a soothing throat tea and it’s berries for flavoring meat dishes.