The Middlebury Landscape


Filed under: Blooms,Trees — Tim Parsons at 9:27 am on Sunday, May 10, 2009

It’s almost impossible now to keep up with everything in bloom, so I’ll write about the most obvious around campus, the CrabapplesThere are hundreds of kinds of crabapples, and many different kinds on campus. Most of them I don’t know their actual name, but I’ve looked some up in old planting plans, and some I can guess. The picture above the jump is Red Jewel, planted along Porter Field Road behind where the college vehicles are kept. We lose about one tree a year there, as someone driving a 15 passenger van backs into one. They were chosen for their upright growth habit, which means it shouldn’t outgrow the island they were planted in.

Across from them, filling the rest of the parking lot, are Snowdrift Crabapples. Aptly named, these flower pure white, opening from subtly pink buds. NIce golden fruit in the fall as well, but it hangs on the tree late until the birds eat them. (Common complaint about crabapples from my retail days, will a crabapple make a mess in my yard. Most are bred now for smaller fruit.)

Here’s a Selkirk crabapple. This is a memorial tree on the eastern edge of Battell Beach.

Here’s what  I think is a Profusion Crabapple, this is in one of the nooks behind Battell. This is an old fashioned and still much loved cultivar. Going back to my retail days again, I call this one “That Purple Crabapple”, because that is what customers would come in ask for, after seeing in bloom all over town.

Further south than us, crabapples have a terrible reputation. I can remember a landscaper I worked for in Connecticut wouldn’t plant a crabapple at all-too insect and disease prone. In Vermont they seem to do fine. Sure, some years they may have more leaf spot than other years, and some cultivars shouldn’t be planted at all. But, for the most part, Crabapples are nice four season landscape plants. Small red fruits hanging off a tree in the dead of winter add a little bit of life to a barren time, and gives the birds something to come back to.

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