When I was in Seattle, USA, recently for my son’s soccer tournament (they made it to the final!) I went hunting for coffee in the morning. My cheap Motel 6 didn’t have any coffee in the lobby, nor in the room. No problem.
So, I walked into the nearest gas station to get my dark roast which happened to come with a free banana. Even better; but no sign of the New York Times.
On the way out I noticed a familiar looking groundcover with orange fruit. I recognized the foliage but had never seen the fruit. Imagine that, a new personal plant discovery at a gas station! I would later post my pictures in a Facebook group and some people laughed. Usually people post beautiful flowers from exotic, far away places. Not me; I get excited by gas station groundcovers.
I rushed to our cramped room to use the motel’s very wobbly and unsecured Wi-Fi to confirm that it was Rubus groundcover. I knew the evergreen foliage which is brownish on the underside.
There is lots to like about Rubus. It tolerates heat, the foliage is attractive and it’s evergreen; and it produces orange fruit which resembles Salmonberry. And it makes sense because the botanical name for Salmonberry is Rubus spectabilis. We know that Salmonberry is a native West Coast plant with edible berries.
I always buy travel insurance but just to be safe, I didn’t eat any of the groundcover berries. Back home when we go for a walk with the kids, we sample all ripe Salmonberries within reach.
The groundcover Rubus also shades out weeds which is important for gas station beds. In Canada, gas station owners have very limited landscaping budgets which is why most of gas stations look awful.
I was really surprised to see a nice looking groundcover with fruit at a gas station. It works really well and it would work well in your garden as well. If you need groundcover plants, consider Rubus. It might even feed you.