Sargent Crabapple and Crabapple Cultivars (Malus, Rosaceae).
Winterthur, Delaware, 2012 – 2019. Legacy of Henry Francis du Pont, 1880-1969
There is a large stand of mature white-flowering Sargent crabapple trees in the park at Winterthur. Like a cathedral.
On both sides there are straight-backed white-flowering crabapple cultivars.
At the rear of the Sargent crabapple stand, straight-backed cultivars bearing flowers in pinks.
Farther away, a second single Sargent white-flowering crabapple tree.
In winter, you can see most clearly the sinuous, singular structure of the Sargent crabapple.
You can stand fully upright within the stand even if you are very tall and even though their boughs are bowed and some are kneeling.
Crabapple trees here leaf in April
A volunteer gardener pruning on a May day, 2017. On a beautifully crafted wooden ladder.
An azalea cultivar encroaching on the stand of Sargent crabapple trees.
Behind the azeala, Hupeh cotoneaster in white bloom leaning towards the crabapple stand
The first both to leaf and flower are the cultivars.
Star flowers (Ipheon) blooming at the foot of a crabapple cultivar
A crabapple cultivar with its feet in star flowers
And with significant warming of the weather in mid-spring, the Sargent crabapple trees bear white flowers.
Profuse flowers alternate every other year with a light flowering.
This is heralded by the flowering of Royal azalea which have been planted as an honour guard from the park to within a few yards of the concentration of crabapple trees.
Flowers of both Sargent crabapple and crabapple cultivars
The flowers of the pink crabapple cultivars fade and petal to the ground first.
The Sargent crabapple flowers and those of white cultivars survive a little longer.
The Sargent crabapple stand is a dazzling oasis:
with its meshes, lacework, and fretwork grills;
and mottled tree trunks;
white and green confetti thrown up and held against gravity like a blessing by bowed boughs stretching, and by an invisible force as though time had been halted;
and on the grass, imitative patterns in browns, grays, greens, creams, pale yellows, and transient light;
and a dancing flower barrier to the rest of the park in which there are also portals, as if carved
And so away.
First to the shade of the second and lone Sargent crabapple tree from which the stand is visible
And then away. Really away
To sit with azalea in a circle of sobriety.
In summer, when the flowers of the Sargent crabapple stand have long since faded and been blown away, there is deep chlorophyll shade for the duration of the season
until early autumn when the the fruit and colours of the Sargent crabapple stand warm its earth and its heaven in advance of its naked winter.
To await Spring. Without us, this 2020 year of the virus-god.
Except, of course, that all this – an image complete of our heaven and earth – was not made for us.