Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weeping Apricot

It was time for the weeping apricot's (Prunus mumé 'Pendula') annual prune. Today on the last official day of winter as it lost its last blossom, out came my secateurs and the loppers! The first photo shows what my tree looked like 4 weeks ago. It started flowering during the first week of June and finished (more or less) three months later which I think is phenomenal value for a blossom tree! Many flowering cherries (while they look stunning) last less than 4 weeks so to get 3 months is terrific.

By pruning my tree hard every year I keep the tree to a manageable size. It also forces the tree to put on lots of fresh growth which then happens to produce lots of flowers the following year. My tree is now about 15 years old and was one of the first trees we planted in our garden. I carefully pruned every weeping wand to an upward and outward facing bud and removed everything that was growing inwards, downwards or sideways. What will happen now is that as the leaf buds break, the naked branches will be clothed in fuzzy green growth and I will briefly have a 'mop-top' in my garden. Then over spring and summer the branches will lengthen and the characteristic wands will reappear. By next autumn these wands will be brushing the surface of the earth. This tree does so well because any rain that falls on the drive or path, sits around the apricot's bed until it soaks in - its about the only plant in my garden thats on easy street! I decided to remove everything that was growing beneath the tree to show it off to its best advantage and replaced them with a mass planting of the groundcover Erigeron 'Elsie'. The idea is 'Elsie' will start to flower as the apricot finishes. The trouble is these cuttings taken months ago have only just started to form roots - and summer is not far away! The best laid plans....

Here it is, the very last flower (sob!)

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