I wrote a post last year, after a visit to Westonbirt Arboretum, about my love of trees and the fact that I was known to occasionally hug a tree, a lovely experience which I can definitely recommend. I then received a post from Flighty at Flight Plot pointing me in the direction of a blog celebrating 2011′s Tree Year. The blog asked people to choose a tree they saw on a regular basis and follow how it changed through the seasons, posting about it. I thought it was such a great idea that I chose the crab apple at the end of my garden, my only disappointment was that I had come to the idea so late in the year.
A couple of people suggested I continue posting into 2012 about my tree and reading Laura’s post over at the Patiopatch about the Wych Elms she is following, I thought it was about time I devoted a post to my beautiful tree.
For me, my crab apple is at it’s most stunning right now. Like a huge candy floss it stands in the left hand corner of my back garden covered in blossom. Although once open the flowers are white, the buds are rose pink and I think one of my most favourite things in nature. For weeks now I have been anticipating the show of blossom. There was the morning when I was stood at the kitchen sink and squinting could see the first signs of the pink buds emerging, finally culminating in the first white flowers opening with perfect timing for the Easter weekend. These white flowers hold a secret, they smell. I never really thought of blossom as having a scent. It was only really the first spring living in this house that I came across this delightful surprise. OK it’s not a powerful, heady scent like sweet peas, or stocks but it is for me the most perfect of spring scents, smelling like freshly washed clothes that have been blowing on the washing line. Ones that haven’t been drowned in the overpowering fragrances used by detergent companies that is. My crab apple certainly doesn’t smell of Japanese Fragrant Lily or Himalayan Lemongrass Orchid or any other bizarre sounding clothes wash.
The tree is proving popular with the insect visitors to the garden, too. Stand next to the tree at the moment and there is a hum, a buzz, a noise of busily foraging bees lapping up the nectar and groaning under the weight of laden pollen sacs. I always get a sense of satisfaction to know that even my small garden can play an important part in the environment.
The crab apple is quite a hardy customer. It might look all delicate and frothy at the moment but it has had to put up quite a bit over the last week with plunging temperatures, freaky hail storms, torrential rain and howling winds. I went to bed last night thinking the predicted heavy rain and gales would strip the tree of it’s flowers but no, there is a little bit of white confetti appearing on the path but the tree looks great still.
The birds which have used the tree all winter, whether feeding on the crab apples or grubs and insects hidden in the branches or visiting the feeders we have put there, are still using the tree. Blackbirds, in particular, use the tree as a perch before flying down to the nearby bird bath.
It’s time for me to savour the tree and it’s blossom as much as possible. Another couple of weeks and the blossom will have faded with bright apple green leaves unfurling and taking over.
This crab apple was already here when we moved into the house, we’re not sure what variety it is, possibly ‘Evereste’ because it holds onto it’s apples for such a long period and although we have completely changed the rest of the garden it is such an important feature. If I could recommend one tree for even the smallest of gardens it would be a crab apple. They provide such interest through the year.