Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Vanished Into Thin Air

"All the kitchens along Brambly Hedge were warm and busy. Hot soups, punches and puddings bubbled and in the ovens pies brown and sizzled. Clover and Catkin helped Mrs Apple string crabapples to roast over the fire. The boys had to sit and watch because they ate too many.
"It's not that I mind, dears, but we must have SOME left for the punch!" "

 ~ extract and illustration from 'Winter Story' by Jill Barklem


There is but one lonely crabapple hanging from my first time fruiting malus 'Red Sentinel' tree today, which this time last week was covered with bright red berries. I would not feel so aggrieved but all the blurb that I read before choosing the tree suggested that it would hang on to its berries until well into the winter. I had visions of using a few berries in festive decorations but ......


Does anybody else grow 'Red Sentinel' and if so what is your experience? I'm not sure whether the berries have been purloined by creatures or whether the ferocious gales we've had of late have stripped them off the branches. Another of those garden related mysteries which I will no doubt ponder over for some time to come probably never to reach a clearcut conclusion.

17 comments:

  1. I couldn't guarantee that mine is a red sentinel but I think it is. This year it has lost most of its berries in the recent high winds, in other years it has lost some berries but the rest have stayed on until the flowers although they do tend to turn brown.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and for your comment Debbie which has given me some reassurance for future years :)

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  2. I don't have any experience myself but I'd have thought there'd be some evidence if the winds had blown the berries off. What a lovely illustration, I've never read Brambly Hedge.

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    1. Just the stalks holding the fruit left Jo but I will have another reccie tomorrow in case I've missed anything. We have so many squirrels in transit so they may have made off with any berries that had departed from the tree. Oh do have a read of 'Brambly Hedge' if you get a chance - the illustrations with their attention to detail are exquisite.

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  3. I love the Brambly Hedge illustrations they are delightful - I have a Treasury of these stories - and one year husband bought me a BH jigsaw - as for crab apples I have a John Downie which loses its fruit very quickly.

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    1. Oh now a Brambly Hedge jigsaw would be a perfect seasonal activity Elaine :)

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  4. I haven't got one myself Anna, but I know the pleached ones at the Yeo Valley garden keep their apples for much longer than other varieties... 'well into the new year', I'm told. Therefore, it looks like recent storms might be the culprit...

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    1. I think so too VP. I had such high hopes but maybe the fruit will hang on later and longer next time round.

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  5. A flock of field fare will strip a crab apple tree of its fruit very quickly if the weather turns cold.
    Have you had a cold snap?

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    1. No only one frost to date Brian and as far as I know fieldfare are not garden visitors here or if they do they don't call en masse :) My money is on the gales we've had.

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  6. Yes, I agree with Brian on that possibility, Anna - they stripped our holly one year literally overnight or as our backs were turned. It would have taken a scurry of squirrels or one with eyes very much bigger than his belly to strip the tree ;) They are clearly not fussed about their diet as long as it is bright and juicy! Having spent days dithering about crab apples as a replacement for the magnolia (which is getting the boot) I was seriously considering Red Sentinel because of the promise of the fruits being held for such a long time but in the end plumped for Evereste which has orangey-red fruit which are also meant to be retained for long periods - I have ordered it but it hasn't come yet so I wonder if it will come with any fruit... Still over 3 weeks of potential plant buying before my embrago kicks in... ;)

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    1. Now we do see squirrels in numbers at times Cathy - well three is the maximum ever spotted out together. I'm now convinced that the recent gales were the culprit. I will be interested to hear how you get on with 'Evereste'. My 'Red Sentinel' came as a bare rooted plant in spring 2014 and there were no berries last year. Oh that embargo is not far away now - I imagine that you're doing some last minute spending!

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  7. Not sure what an embrago is, but I meant embargo!

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  8. I rarely have any berries left for Christmas decorations, but the Berberis hasn't been touched by the birds yet. I have seen our Mahonia berries disappear within minutes before now, so my guess is the birds noticed when your crabapples were ripe!

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    1. Fingers crossed that the birds have not noticed your berberis yet Cathy :)

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  9. I've yet to see crab apples stay all winter which is a shame as they are a glorious colour. Birds, cold, high winds could all be factors. I once had crab apples stay on a tree through winter I think that's because it was one of those awful winters 5 or 6 years ago and the fruit was frozen solid to the branches!

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  10. I read this lovely post a few days ago and got distracted by the book you are reading 'The Essence of the Garden'. As we so often enjoy the same books, I went rushing off to investigate and forgot to comment. Anyway I bought the book and I love it, so thanks for that. She has such a way with words.
    As for your Malus, I agree the culprits must be fieldfares. 'Red Sentinel' usually hangs on to its fruit, as does 'Evereste' and a lovely new one 'Indian Magic'.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.