Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weeping Flowering Apricot - Prunus mume

My friends Pip and Dave have this lovely Weeping Flowering Apricot (Prunus mume) growing out the front of their house. As far as I am concerned, it makes their house a real treasure. (Pip and Dave and their kids are pretty special too).

Weeping Prunus mume
As you can see this "weeping form" has branches which tend to grow out then hang down, under their own weight.

This is a recognised form of the plant, from Japan, and is of course, always grown as a grafted specimen, growing on an upright stem (known as a "standard").

Wikipedia has a nice photo of such a plant of this species, from Yumeji Art Museum, in Japan.

I knew such a plant in a garden I used look after in Canberra. There is another at the end of the Kingston Railway Station, on Wentworth Avenue, Kingston, ACT. I  would always visit that plant every year, as it was always the first of the "Spring Blossoms" to flower. In the depths of a Canberra winter, I always longed to see this plant blooming, so I could believe that Spring was coming. The thing is that the coldest days of the year are usually still ahead of us. But the plants are reacting to the length of day light, not the overnight temperature.

As with my favourite trees in Canberra, I love to "visit" this plant every mid-winter and watch it "wake up" and start to bloom. The first buds were just showing on the Winter Solstice. Now about three weeks into the returning Sun (lengthening days are the clue which plants pick up on), this plant is now fully in flower.  
Blossoms starting to cover the pendant branches
of this Weeping Flowering Apricot
(Prunus mume)

Numerous semi-double flowers crowd the branches
of this Weeping Flowering Apricot

A single (individual) flower of this lovely plant
Prunus mume

Many weeping tree forms occur naturally, and appeal to our aesthetic senses.
As a result, many forms of many different species of weeping trees have been brought into cultivation. Inevitably, this requires the particular "form" of plant to be cloned by nurserymen, and weeping plants are then usually grafted onto an upright stem. 

Sometimes these "naturally occurring weeping forms" (such as with many Australian Wattles) occur as prostrate forms (in the bush). In the absence of a suitable "standard", such plants can be planted to grow on the tops of stone walls and the stems cascade down the rock wall.
The theory of weeping trees is that the branches are unable to carry their own weight.
Prunus mume.
I like this image a lot.
(click on image to enlarge it)
It shows how the branches curve down.
The sky contrast is a bit overdone, but who cares?
It looks pretty on the screen.

Thanks to Pip for allowing me to photograph this stunning tree.


Sam Wheatley said...

It is a beautiful tree. It always catches my eye as I'm driving down the main street. The gorgeous burst of pink appears in the corner of my eye as I drive past and brightens up my day!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Sam.
Glad you appreciate this beautiful tree too.