Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Aronia Berries & Wetlands – March 9, 2012

CFN – I attended a gathering this past week, where we were served some homemade apple juice and a loaf with Aronia berries.  Aronia berries…you might ask?  Aronia berries, also known as black chokecherries, are nutritious, contain a “very high level of antioxidants, (According to ) are easy to grow and are native to Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States.  Discussion on this site revealed studies in the United States and around the world indicate the dietary benefits of this fruit to be “beneficial to cardiovascular health, the digestive system, liver health and muscle recovery after workouts.”

The Aronia berry bush is a member of the Rose family and grows to a height and width of three to six feet tall. The Spring May white flower clusters from which the fruit forms is primarily pollinated by bees.  The fruit begins to form mid to late summer and the pea-sized fruit ripens late summer into the fall.  The fruit and juice is a deep purple colour.   Further information related to the many health benefits of this fruit can be viewed at  According to this site this shrub can thrive in swampy or dry environments, in acid, neutral or mildly alkaline soil, in full sun or half shade, is rarely troubled by insects or diseases and is cold hardy (according to ) to at least -40 Celsius.  Indeed a hardy specimen.  The bush does not like very hot conditions.  Ideal conditions would be moist well-drained soil with bright sunshine. It is very tolerant to being transplanted and can be expected to thrive when planted in any season with great success.  When making inquires with your local Plant Nursery about availability of the Aronia bush, we pass along the suggestion of asking for the “Autumn Magic” cultivar.  In conclusion if you’re looking for a bush that can provide some cover, shade, privacy, blooms and supplies some awesome nutrition for you and your wildlife visitors, consider an Aronia bush.  Happy planting.

Are you wild about wetlands?  Katherine Beehler, RAP Implementation Coordinator at the Raison Region Conservation Authority (Cornwall, Ontario Region) is looking for volunteers to be trained as amphibian and/or bird monitors for wetlands in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry for their community “Marsh Monitoring Program. (MMP)  The MMP has been tracking local populations of amphibians and birds in marshes since 1995.  The data collected is sent to Bird Studies Canada which uses the data to asses the health of our marshes around the Great Lakes Basin.

Volunteering as a marsh monitor only involves a 10 – 12 hour Annual commitment.  An amazing opportunity to get out and enjoy nature and all the simple pleasures and lessons she has to offer.  Beehler has been monitoring amphibians at Charlottenburgh Park since 2007.  “It’s a fun program that teaches you to listen to nature in a whole new way.”  For more information about this program opportunity, kindly contact Katherine Beehler at 613-938-3611, ext 229 or e-mail

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.  The next best time is today.”
~Chinese Proverb~

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  1. Picked up an Aronia Berry Bush, “Autumn Joy” at Marlin’s Orchard this morning. Will be planting this week-end. The berries are fit for human and bird consumption. Loaded with anti-oxidants.

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