Alison Jane Harley

- botanical and floral artist -

it’s Apple blossom Time !!

I’ve focused more recently on what’s springing up along the riverside and across the fields but I haven’t forgotten about what is happening in the garden.

I have two apple trees now in full blossom and what a pretty sight they are – laden with pink and white petals.

The first one, with the most profuse blossom that I have ever seen, is what I think is the crab apple, Malus sylvestris Mill. I found this tree around 2008 languishing in a supermarket garden centre looking very sad and dry and desperately in need of some tlc. There was no name or price tag on it and when I asked the assistant for help he could find nothing and I think he was hoping I would just go away. I couldn’t leave the tree on its own like that though so I asked him if he could speak to someone who could give me a price and… after a bit of huffing and puffing (I think he made up the price), I walked away with my lovely tree and only paid 16 euros for the pleasure. Unfortunately no-one could give it a name and I wasn’t even sure it was an apple tree at that stage. I feel pretty sure now that I have given it its correct name and it has certainly rewarded me with the most profuse blossom each year and an abundance of beautiful, tiny little crab apples which the turtle doves adore. I’m not so keen on seeing the big birds bending the branches and attack the apples but the tree doesn’t seem to suffer and the little birds, such as blue tits and great tits, are often seen pecking the branches for insects and the bees just love it.

My other fruity pride and joy is what is hopefully correctly named as Malus domestica Borkh.

Malus domestica Borkh

Again bought around 2008, this one did have a label and no doubt a much heftier price tag as it was from a local pepiniere but ….for years I referred to it as the ‘apple tree’ as I hadn’t realised then that I was going to try to be seriously botanical and I’d long since lost the label. As much as I loved it, I treated this beautiful tree very badly in the beginning, because I am ashamed to say that I moved it at least twice before I was happy with its final position which I’m sure did not make it feel very welcome. However despite a few years of shock and trauma – it established itself well and has grown in confidence to become a very pretty tree with a fairly good harvest each year. The bees love this tree too and are buzzing busily amid the blooms.

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