A Good Year for Crabapples, and Other News

This has been an exceptionally good year for our ‘Donald Wyman’ Crabapple, which stands in what I call the Left Bank of the Front Garden. These days it is just smothered in blossoms.

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‘Donald Wyman’ Crabapple

We’ve had this crab for at least a dozen years. Some people are wary of planting Crabapples because they can be prone to disease, but ‘Donald Wyman’ has remained hale and hearty. Crabapples are excellent small trees for birds and pollinators. Doug Tallamy listed them among the most valuable genera for supporting biodiversity.

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‘Donald Wyman’ flowers

And their beauty gives human spirits a lift as well. ‘Donald Wyman’ flowers are white but the buds are pink, which makes for a nice combination.

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The only thing I don’t like about Crabapples is that I don’t have space for a Crabapple allée. Nor do I have a pond to reflect their masses of bloom. It’s very unfair, but there it is.

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We have a second Crabapple in the Back Garden – ‘Golden Raindrops’, planted about 3 years ago. It’s a late bloomer – you can’t even see the flower buds yet.

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On another front, my seed starting venture is doing pretty well, except it turns out that I sowed certain seeds too early. Many of the Mexican Sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia) and ‘Italian White’ Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) had outgrown their starter cells and were crowding their neighbors.

Unfortunately it’s still too cold to plant these guys outside so I moved them into plastic cups with holes for drainage. Fortunately there is still room for them under the grow lights.

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Except for this guy, he’s too big, so I moved him to the back porch.

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I’m also really happy with the Caladiums that I’ve started indoors from bulbs. One thing I learned is that you should scoop out the “eyes” of the Caladium bulbs (Caladiums are tubers, like potatoes).  This causes the bulb to sprout a lot more leaves. Now if only the soil would get warm enough so I could move these guys into outdoor containers.

Finally, we learned this weekend that part of the sewer line from the street to our house needs to be replaced, which is likely to require digging an 8′ by 3′ trench through part of the Front Garden. Further bulletins as developments occur.

Do you consider Crabapples one of your favorite small flowering trees? Justify yourself if your answer is no.

27 Comments on “A Good Year for Crabapples, and Other News

  1. Oh Donald Wyman is a handsome dude. What is not to like about Crabapples? I have a young crabapple in our garden. It isn’t big enough to impress as yet. It blooms early. I too would love a Crabapple allee like Rose’s.It is spectacular in spring and is always welcoming. I planted some tithonia seeds outside this spring. I haven’t seen them emerge as yet. Maybe it is too cool. I have Zinnias that have popped up tho. I haven’t had luck starting Caladiums. Do you use a heat mat under them? Cheers.

  2. I love crabapples too. They are such a great small tree. Yours is lovely.
    Sorry to hear about the sewer repair project. The same thing happened to us. Our mistake was believing them when they said our flower bed would not be harmed. The trench was enormous. I lost the heirloom iris my great aunt Margaret gave me when I was eight, that I’d moved from garden to garden for years.

    • They told me the trench will be 8’x3′. Of course, then there is the damage done by the equipment and where are they going to put the dirt? They did not promise that the garden will be unharmed, so points for honesty I guess. Most likely it will happen next week or week after.

  3. I can’t wait for mine to bloom. They are just loaded with buds. Two snowdrift varieties were planted 46 years ago and one is on its last leg. It may have to be severely pruned after blooming.

    • I could tell this year would be a good bloom – ours was also loaded with buds. This one seems to alternate years of heavy and lighter bloom.

  4. That crabapple is glorious! But yikes about the sewer repair project. You must be feeling dread in your heart right now.

  5. I have a ‘Perfect Purple’ flowering crab in the front yard – the leaves stay purple all season long – and a Prairie Fire crab in the backyard – not much more than a stick but blooming away. It seems ALL the spring flowering trees and shrubs are making up for that awful winter – gobs and gobs of bloom!

  6. Your crabapple is absolutely superb. How lovely to see so much blossom each time you leave the house or come home! My Tithonia seedlings are looking a bit weedy – nit as big as yours, but it is too cold to plant them out yet… maybe next week as it is apparently warming up then. A trench in the front garden sounds like a nightmare… can’t it wait till winter?!

    • My Tithonia are going to have to wait at least another week, maybe two. We probably can’t wait too long on the sewer because the crack can grow or the pipe can even collapse.

  7. I’d say crabapples are ONE of my favorites but I don’t really have a single favorite.
    Too bad about the trench but maybe they can carefully set the plants aside.
    The seedlings look good and stocky!

    • I’m afraid I’ll have to set the plants aside but I’ll only be able to do it if the timing works. I may have to be out of town when they dig the trench.

  8. I have a crabapple tree and thoroughly enjoy it even though it starts dropping leaves by mid-July, sometimes sooner. I had an arborist look at it last year. He ended up trimming quite a bit away and this spring it was the heartiest I have seen it in 19 years. I should have thought of the tree doc sooner!

    So sorry to hear of the necessary sewer work. Several years ago I had to have some stucco repair done to my house and the coneflower bed never really recovered. I was out there everyday trying to protect the plants while letting the workers do their job but the damage was substantial. It has taken six years but so far this spring things are looking good (knock on wood). I am hoping things won’t be too bad for your wonderful yard.

    • I’m glad your crab is doing better. As for the sewer work, I’m trying to think of it as an opportunity to redesign part of the garden.

  9. We’re having a Red Jewel crabapple planted this Saturday. Crabapples really are spectacular this spring. Unfortunately our serviceberries and red bud barely bloomed.

  10. A friend who had to have some tree work done ended up losing trilliums he’d finally gotten to bloom. The good news is that he has some that escaped, and he got photos of the bloomers before tragedy struck.

    I know there were three crabapples in our yard when I was a kid, but I don’t remember them blooming. They surely did, because the crop of fruit from them always was good. The apples were about the size of ping-pong balls, or a little larger. They were too sour to eat, although we tried, but they certainly made fine weapons.

  11. I am another flowering Crabapple fan. We had one in the front garden and the flowers in spring were gorgeous, everyone commented on it as they walked down the street. We have a fairly small front garden & it eventually took over to such a degree we had it cut down ( also getting old) .. but I still miss it🙁

  12. I can just imagine that crab apple laden with fruit in the Autumn, what a beautiful tree. Good to see your seedlings doing so well. I do hope that sewer line doesn’t do any damage to your plants.xxx

  13. Hello Jason, that is a gorgeous crabapple, we don’t have one in the garden and I will admit that they’re not my favourite flowering tree, that title changes depending what is coming into flower. The large ornamental cherry and Amelanchier have long finished, the Judas tree is coming to a finish and right now, the young laburnum has flowered beautifully for the first time this year and it’s stunning.

  14. It takes a bit of trial and error to figure out the best timing to start plants indoors so that they are a good size to transplant outside at he appropriate time. I’ve had my share of both starting too early or starting too late. Just make sure to make some notes about how much earlier/later you want to sow them next year 🙂

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