After what seems an interminable wait the very first ever flowers of my crab apple opened fully this weekend. They have been teasing me most of this month. Malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel' arrived as a bare rooted plant from Victoriana Nursery Gardens last February. It promised scented white flowers followed by clusters of small red fruits. When researching which crab apple to buy there were three main factors which made me chose 'Red Sentinel' i.e. white flowers, good disease resistance and finally fruits that apparently cling on to the tree for a long time. In her book 'The Winter Garden' Val Bourne writes "Crab apples are also great trees for winter fruits. When it comes to selecting varieties, one red-fruiting form stands supreme - Malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel'. The abundant bright red fruits, which follow white spring flowers, are studded in clusters along the branches and persist well into winter. A great advantage of the tree is that it does not suffer from scab, a scourge of many other crab apples." Sold! Later in the year we saw a more mature specimen of my malus in full fruit mode which only served to confirm my feelings that I had made the right decision.
I thought that I saw signs of flowers towards the end of March and sure enough this was confirmed as the month moved on to April. There's been a progress check most days and when signs of colour finally appeared I was delighted but mystified. The buds are most pink as you can see in the photographs but sure enough on opening the pink has morphed to the promised white. As for scent my nose has not detected any yet but so far there is only the one sprig that is fully open. It has also been noticeably colder here since yesterday afternoon which may affect the scent. Time will tell but so far so good. I'm like the cat who has got the cream and if I could purr I would! Are you playing the waiting game this spring and if so what are you waiting for?