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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Saturday - January 30, 2016

From: Malden, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Maine Coastal Shrub for Choral Composition
Answered by: Anne Van Nest


I'm a choral composer writing a piece of music about Maine. What kind of shrubby things hang on to the rocky bluffs, right by the sea? I'm an avid native plant gardener, but I know my own Massachusetts meadow species best. Thus far we have: Each day she cuts her path to the sea. Stepping carefully between clumps of_________ to level footholds with a short shovel. Packing the thin soil between brittle stems, nestling stones in their beds. Pecking and scraping with the roar in the ears and the gull-sheered wind at the back. On the beach little crabs ball the mud from their holes and race the tide. Over Cow Point the sun is slipping away. If one day the wind did not erase her work, if she ever reached the sand below, would she stand and stare at the great weight of the swells? Or turn and pick her way back up the path with the last of the light? Thank you for any suggestions!


What a fun question and congratulations on your great lyrics.

There are a couple of native Maine shrubs that grow along the coast among the rocks that might fit your song. How about sand cherry (Prunus pumila) or beach plum (Prunus maritima)? Both of these are low growing, suckering shrubs with white blooms and blue-purple fruit.

All the best.


From the Image Gallery

Sand cherry
Prunus pumila

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