The crabapples are confections this week at Duck Hill. Four of them line the walkway of our entrance–a handsome white-flowering sort called ‘Snowdrift,’ and four ‘Katherine’ crabs, pink fading to white, weigh down the corners of our main garden. This Japanese crab acts as a parasol over our round table on the kitchen terrace, effectively shading our summer lunches. It is an old fashioned sort called Malus floribunda with a picturesque horizontal way of growing. I planted it as a five-foot sapling twenty-nine years ago. (My children laughed then when I said it would shade our lunches.) It has small flowers but is profuse in its blooming, white petals from red buds, giving a speckled appearance. In fall these small ornamental trees are loaded with reddened fruit, eaten before harsh winter by the birds–in good years, they are consumed by robins and cedar waxwings. In less fortunate years, starlings discover them first, cackling like Alfred Hitchcock birds as they feast on the berries.
Posted on: May 11, 2011 By