Set against a garden busting out all over in buds and leaves, our Sand Cherry shrubs (Prunus x cistena) stand out with particular elegance. For a nice show of wine-coloured leaves all season long, these shrubs are reliable and, quite frankly, a lovely relief from all that enthusiastic green-ness a shrubby garden can have. And then there are the blossoms–as close to a real cherry blossom as I’ll ever get but I’m quite okay with that.
There’s a Sand Cherry native to Southern Ontario–Prunus pumila L. var. pumila (Great Lakes sand cherry), but it’s rare and/or endangered and doesn’t look much like the Sand Cherries you’d see at your local garden centre except that they have lovely flowers, too.
What I love about the Purple-Leaf sand cherry is that even though it has these delicate blooms and its leaves are so appealing (they are, after all, the colour of a fine bordeaux), this lovely shrub is actually really tough. In fact, it can hold up very well to pollution. You can spot it thriving in the humblest of inner city parks and postage-stamp-sized gardens. It can get a little leggy (a quick prune in late winter will take care of that) and doesn’t like wet feet but those are small quirks for a plant that can face smog and exhaust fumes with aplomb.
Our Sand Cherry shrubs haven’t bloomed yet. It’s still a little early. The photos shown here were taken later in May of last year. But I’ll have my camera at the ready, once again, when they do.