My singing tree is a wise teller of time
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – My main criterion for the date when I can safely shop for plants, especially blooms for my garden is the flowering of the 112-year-old apple tree, a wise old thing. We pruned it radically 10 years ago, since no one had done it for at least 25 years, then we gradually slowed down the pruning and two years ago we decided to let it live in peace.
As a result, the fruit, an old variety that to be honest we don’t particularly like, is smaller and on branches no one cares to try to reach.
But the flowers! It is thick with white blossoms, so dense we lose sight of the bigger world, and the birds love it, so it becomes a singing tree in May.
It blooms later than trees on the plain, waiting until there is no danger of frost, although we often have one final spring snowfall around 15 May because we’re at 1,100 metres altitude. The tree takes this in stride.
It’s in full, gorgeous bloom right now, so I’m off to Schilliger for the start of my spring shopping spree. If I get carried away I’ll have some plants that must be brought inside at night for another three weeks, so wish me a little constraint.
And I’m taking the advice of a local garden work man who suggests that I buy fewer low-altitude plants and go to a specialist in Sion for higher altitude shopping. So join me while I shop at two garden centres this year.