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Seeing this, who could blame Eve?

May 18, 2010

The idea of posting a tree picture every Tuesday was to share with you some of the great mature woodland which we enjoy here. Today’s post, therefore, is a bit of an aberration. It stars a small, young, garden specimen of that most myth-laden tree, the apple. I hope you will forgive me: I couldn’t resist. (This defense did not cut it for Eve, of course, but there is less at stake in the present case.) To continue the inescapable allusions to Genesis, if it’s not too wicked: walking in the garden in the cool of the day, yesterday evening, I was stopped in my tracks by the beauty of this little crab apple tree with its perfect pink-and-white blossoms. It is a young tree, only a few years old, underplanted with a type of double narcissus. The combination of pink blossoms, white narcissus, bright green grass and a blue sky above sent me into raptures, and I’m afraid that I am concentrating today on showing you pretty flowers rather than mature timber.

The Crab apple (Malus sylvestris) is supposed to be the wild ancestor of all cultivated apple trees, so holds a venerable place in human history even without the added burden of being the original forbidden fruit. (There is another argument, of course, that the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate; but the claim of the apple looks to remain pretty unshakeable in the West.) The briefest research into apple trees unearths reams of poetry and mythology: this post could turn into an essay and still have barely begun. However, beguiling though apples are (and passionately though I feel about the gender politics in the story of Eve), I am feeling too tired and too frivolous to write anything serious. Others have done it before, and better. Shall we just look at the pretty pictures?

Growing along the west-facing wall of the walled garden are several espaliered fruit trees. These, obviously, are older than the little free-standing crab-apple. They pre-date my arrival here by a generation or two and I am afraid that I don’t know what variety they are. There are two pears and a couple of delicious apple varieties. The pear is blossoming as well at the moment but its flowers, though pretty, are rather more plain than the bridal apple, lacking both the pink buds and that heavenly sweet, crisp smell of the apple blossom.

Last autumn, the pears mostly fell victim either to squirrels or to scab. The apples had a bumper harvest though, as did my favourite plum, the greengage, which is another of the old espaliered fruit trees against the wall. These green plums, which look so sour and taste so honey-sweet, are hard to find in the shops and so we were lucky to have a big enough yield from the garden  to have plenty to enjoy fresh, with enough left over for me to make several pots of jam, which have seen us through the winter.

Returning to the apples, I notice how thickly they are covered with blossoms compared to the pear:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, however: there is no guarantee that this abundance of spring beauty will lead to another bumper crop in the autumn. We just enjoy it as a blessing in itself, and perhaps keep our fingers crossed for a good year. And say a little prayer for the honey bee, without whom there would be no more apples. Even poor maligned Eve, I imagine, would not have wanted that.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2010 11:32 am

    These are lovely, DB! I grew up around fruit trees. I’ve always thought that they should be planted in parks, a few anyway. How much nicer it would be to grab an apple off a tree whilst strolling. A park that not only offers a peaceful sanctuary to its community but sustenance as well. 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      May 18, 2010 2:34 pm

      Thank you for your various comments, Lizzy. I am especially flattered if you approve of any of my photos, as I am such a fan of yours!

      What an inspired idea, to plant fruit trees in parks. Good for body and soul (or as Eve noticed, ‘good for food and pleasant to the eyes’).

  2. Wendy permalink
    May 18, 2010 11:06 pm

    What glorious blossoms! and lovely snaps too I might add. I can almost smell them from here – along with a whiff of history surrounding the older ones on the wall.

  3. May 18, 2010 11:42 pm

    Ah yes!! I live in a fruit growing area, especially apples and everything is blooming all at once. The smell of apple blossom is wonderful, and by far the most lovely are the wild trees by the roadside and in hedgerows, and old untended orchards which have had spruce groves grown up around them. Over the next few days, when I go out anywhere I will bring along my camera and see what I can capture.
    Your pictures have reminded me of how lovely and how fleeting the experience of bloom is each year.

  4. May 19, 2010 10:02 am


    How I love your pictures this week! Glorious!
    No, who coluld blame Eve or anybody when you see those beautiful fruit tree flowers… them!
    Do have a good time, take care and enjoy the spring features!



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