In the Depths of Winter

Hi there,

Here we are nearly in the middle of July, theoretically past halfway through winter, plenty of frosts and cold mornings, some rain now and then and the occasional sunny day.  At this time of year there’s always talk in our family of moving north away from the cold.  It’s not that cold really, you can always turn up the ducted heating or throw another log on the fire, maybe put another layer on.  Mind you this year is the first time I’ve worn a vest and jumper to work, I think it has something to do with one’s age.  So considering all the cold and gloom its nice to look outside and see a splash of colour amongst all the grey.  Okay! I know the suns shining, I made sure I picked a sunny day to take these photo’s.

Prunus mume ‘Pendula’ is a tree closely related to the domestic apricot.  It is native to China and flowers incredibly early, from mid winter in fact, so it is an important plant for this time of year when not much else is flowering.  There are  quite a few different forms of P. mume available, ‘Albo-plena’ with white double flowers, ‘Pendula’ that is weeping, ‘Splendens’ with very double deep pink flowers,’Rosebud’ that has single and double flowers .  There are many more.

The light pink flowers are slightly scented, but when standing close to the tree at evening, they are quite intense.  Blooming can be over several weeks and normally starts from the top and works its way down, this gives it a cascading effect.  Mature trees will weep to the ground giving an incredible show.  Mine did last year but I pruned them hard after flowering to thicken their heads, so it may take a year or two to weep back to the ground.  Leaves are bright green and quite pointed and turn a nice yellow-orange colour in autumn before they fall.  When you stand under the canopy you will hear a loud buzzing as bees will be having a wonderful time in the cool sunlight.  As the flowers age they start to fall and you get a nice carpet of pink petals on the ground.

These are magical tree’s that I would recommend to anyone, they are stunningly beautiful.