Of Crab Apple Heaven, Forest High-Rises And Bad Press

First: the bad press. Lately I have been finding myself increasingly infuriated by the partial reporting and drip-drip narratives that the UK and US mass media have been turning out on matters of international importance. War mongering is the name of the game, and you will find it now in the broadcasts of once respectable and respected organs of communication. When governments and the press start scape-goating on the scale we are now seeing, we need to ask in whose interests they are actually acting; as in: who benefits?

But there is only so much fury one can take, so I’m turning my attention to crab apple blossom. And also to initiatives by people who are intent on making our human jungles into life-enhancing environments rather than wiping life off the face of the planet. On BBC’s Gardener’s World last week there was a feature on Milan’s Bosco Verticale – the arboreal tour de force (in all senses) by architect Stefano Boeri. You can find out all the ins and outs of the enterprise at Bosco Verticale.

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One of the primary aims, apart from the provision of green high-density housing, was to reduce pollution levels in Milan. But of course – introduce vegetation and there are all manner of benefits – increase in biodiversity, and the creation of beautiful living spaces in places where you least expect to find them. Trees in the air – how wonderful is that. And in case you’re wondering why the crab apple intro, then crab apple trees are included in the planting of the Bosco Verticale.

The tree in my photos is Evereste , one of the several small varieties that grow to no more than 3 metres. We had to move it a couple of years ago, and were worried it might not survive. But here it is, boldly flowering by our rear garden fence. I love the many shades the flowers pass through – from cerise buds to white full blooms. I also recently learned you can buy crab apple varieties that are suitable for hedging. Can you imagine – a blossom and apple hedge – as wonderful as forests in the sky.

But back to Gardener’s World.  Bosco Verticale features at around 16 minutes and again at around 48 minutes:

 

November Sky With Crab Apples

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Crab apples as caught in yesterday’s afternoon sun. There’s a bit of story here too. This year the fruit on our Evereste crab apple tree is absolutely tiny, nothing like the giant size suggested by the photo. But this is good, because it makes us think that the tree has survived  being moved back in the early summer. Hurrah! It has produced fruit, albeit apples of elfin proportions.

All through last winter we had ummed and ah-ed about doing something so rash and ruthless as digging up this lovely little tree. I had planted it not long after we moved to  Much Wenlock ten years ago. It was the star of an ugly and awkwardly large, raised bed at the back of the house. (You’ve probably seen the crab apple/blossom photos in earlier posts).

In the end we decided to risk it. Graham pruned back much of the  top growth, and then effectively dismantled the flower bed around the roots while I dug a big hole at the top of the garden.  The transplanting all had to be done double-quick. Then we firmed it in, stamped on the soil to get rid of any air pockets, and gave it lots of water. The final proof of success will be next spring. Will it ever flower again? I think it will.

 

Thursday’s Special: Seeing Red

I’m in love with the Japanese crab apple tree in my garden at Sheinton Street. There is hardly a moment in the year when it does not give pleasure. Even now in February there are still a few tiny apples on its bare branches – minimally disposed like a left over Christmas tree that someone forgot to undress. The black bird still visits, although by now the apples have been frosted and lost their bloom.

But then I also know that by the time the last one has fallen, there will be tight rosy-red buds bursting to make the next crop, bees permitting. And while I think of it, I’m grateful to fellow blogger, Mélanie at Mon Terrain de Jeux who tells me that crab apples sound much lovelier in French, and I agree – pommes sauvages.

On the other hand, my little tree is so finely wrought and well bred, and its fruit so exquisite, that I can imagine no situation when it might be tempted to wildness – unlike its large, unruly English cousins that grow in our farm hedgerows. Those I raid in October for their not so pretty fruit to make jars of crab apple jelly. (How could I possibly pick my own pommes sauvages?). The jelly is delicious on toast and croissants, and the jars glow like jewels as the hot jelly is poured into them. Mmmm.

More things to look forward to then: blossom, bees, pommes sauvages, toast…

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For Paula’s Thursday’s Special challenge ‘Red’ at Lost in Translation

One Word Photo Challenge: Scarlet

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We planted the Japanese crab apple tree in the garden in 2006, not long after we moved into Sheinton Street.  Now is its season of fiery scarlet glory. Each fruit glows like a miniature lantern, brightening the gloomiest autumn day. And today is just such a day in Much Wenlock, my usual sky-view over Wenlock Edge, a blanket of grey mist. Even so, the apples glisten. I know, too, as we head into winter, we will have the pleasure of watching the blackbirds come to feed on the fruit, grey days then enlivened by their darting silhouettes foraging among the branches. Few of these tiny apples will be wasted. And then before you know it, the tree will be bursting with purple-pink buds that open in showers of pale blossom. Spring. Splendid how one thing leads to another.

copyright 2014 Tish Farrell

For more studies in scarlet, visit Jennifer at One Word Photo Challenge: Scarlet