May 11, 2015
More Signs of Spring!
Spring is well underway here at my farm!
The gardens are changing every single day. Trees are leafing out and flowers are bursting with color and energy. Last week, the apple tree blossoms came to life - the crabapples down by the stable erupted with buds of magenta and pink, while the apple orchard near the Winter House displayed rows of delicate bright white.
Here’s a peek at some of these beautiful blooms.
1 Very few ornamental trees offer the variety of tree shapes, sizes, bloom shades and fruits as the flowering crabapple tree. The crabapple has more than 35 species and 700 cultivars.
2 Crabapples trees can reach 50-feet tall, but most remain in the 15-25-foot range. They can be columnar, spreading, weeping or vase-shaped. These trees are currently bursting with color at my farm - such beautiful shades of pink!
3 Both crabapple and apple trees have clustered five-petaled blossoms with about 15-20 stamens in the center. As you can see, crabapple flower buds are attractive even before opening, developing color as they swell - this is called the balloon stage.
4 The buds, or balloons, may be a different color from their later blooms. Crabapple blossom colors range from pearly white to shades of delicate pink to deep red.
5 Crabapples are popular trees and are closely related to apples. Both trees are in the family Rosaceae and in the genus Malus.
6 Once the flowers, which tend to be small, but bountiful, all bloom, they can last for up to several weeks. Flowering crabapples are quite adaptable, but thrive in rich, loamy soil with a pH of about 5.0 to 6.5.
7 If trees are well established, crabapples need little extra attention. An occasional pruning is only necessary to open the center up to sunlight and ensure air movement or to remove a wayward branch.
8 Most cultivars have medium to dark green leaves. The leaves are also oval shaped with serrated edges. These trees have a subtle, sweet scent and its fruits are under two-inches in diameter - the main factor that sets it apart from the apple tree, which bears fruits larger than two-inches in diameter.
9 When planting crabapple trees, be sure they are at east 10-20 feet apart. Crabapple trees are desirable to pests, such as Japanese borers, mites and aphids. Rabbits and mice have also been known to chew on the trees' bark when left alone unconfined.
11 Here is a view looking up into the foliage. What a beautiful canopy of pinks.
12 Like most fruit trees, crabapple trees need full sun for optimal growth. These trees thrive in well-drained slightly acidic rich soil such as loam.
13 This apple tree is also blooming so beautifully. Its blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding leaves.
14 The three to four centimeter flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades. The fruits of apple trees mature in late summer or fall.
15 These old apple trees are underplanted with Muscari, or grape hyacinths. Muscari grows in shades of light and medium blue, which look lovely below the apple tree blossoms.
16 Apple trees are deciduous and have a period of dormancy followed by a busy spring when its leaves and blossoms appear. All the apple trees on the property are blooming.
17 These are my Malus 'Gravenstein' apple espalier trees - they are now beginning to bloom too. These trees feature showy clusters of fragrant white flowers with shell pink overtones along the branches in mid spring.
18 And look at the apple orchard - the flowers are so bright and vibrant. A good sign of healthy apple tree specimens.
19 The apple trees in the south paddock are also beginning to bloom - I can't wait to start eating apples this summer! And do you know... Americans tend to eat an average of 50.4 pounds of apples or apple products each year?
20 It makes me so happy to see the fields looking so lush and green.