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Challenge accepted: Red huckleberry

Red huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium) is a berry bush native to our area. The berries are edible by humans but prized food for wildlife. I attended a webinar a while back where the presenter sadly concluded that red huckleberry is a great plant, but it just doesn’t grow well in home landscapes because it likes to grow out of rotting wood.

We have plenty of rotting wood.

The land we live on was clear-cut about 40 years ago, and trees have come down in the intervening years. There are a lot of stumps.

Here’s a little tour of some of the many stumps in our yard.

There’s a fairy garden waiting to happen! I used to think of stumps as an eyesore, but now I see they are part of a wild landscape. They are home to moss and even new trees, animals and insects and serve as natural seats and even tables. In the years we have lived here, more than one stump has crumbled and nurtured something new.

I was checking out a stump in our side yard and realized it was hollowed out. I could see all the way to the ground, but the outer ring still stands strong.

Inspired by the stump below (What would nature do?) that has become a vase of ferns with a small assist from me (I’ve added compost every year), I decided to plant my red huckleberry in a stump.

Stump serving as a fern vase

I put several small pieces of rotting wood in the bottom of the stump, hollowing it out a bit more so the plant would fit inside and then filled it with compost and planting mix. Voilà! As with all things, it’s an experiment.

Stump in our yard with red huckleberry