Exactly a year ago a was wandering around a garden centre in Dublin. A great wee place called Murphy and Woods. All the plants were a little different than you usually see and staff could be seen everywhere taking the time to chat properly with customers. Remember those days when you could just pop into a garden centre 🙄
Anyway, I walked past a open gate marked staff only and about 10 metres inside the gate I could see a lump of malus trunk with a few weak branches and a small cluster of flowers. What can I say, when your eyes in it’s in 👀. As it was staff only I walked on but soon came across some other malus in 10 litre pots up at the back. These weren’t bonsai just small ornamental apple trees. I hoped they were crab apple and spotted one that might make a reasonable tree in time. At 50€ it was worth a punt.
I asked about the 50€ tree in the shop and was told it wasn’t a crab apple but the fruit wasn’t too big. They had been bought as crab apple but turned out not to be. On the off chance I asked about the one I could barely see in the staff area. I was told it belonged to the owner of the centre and had been a bonsai that he displayed in his own Japanese garden at home. However it was diseased and had gone down hill over the last few years. I was taken over to see it and it was a sorry sight lying bare rooted with a lot of dead areas on the tree. The mix it had been in looked way to moisture retentive for a bonsai pot.
A short time later I got to chat with the owner and asked if he’d part with the old bonsai malus. He told me to make him an offer. I asked how much would you pay for a nearly dead tree and that I was actually just trying to save it. We had a laugh about it and he then gave me the tree to try and save. As a good will gesture I then bought the 50€ tree as well as a few plants.
When I got the sick tree home it went into a free draining mix and into a Polytunnel under a misting system. It got sprayed with some big hitting fungicide and insecticide.
The 50€ tree got a little pruning to shape and was stuck in a corner. I watched it produce apples over the year and in the Autumn I sampled one and feck me they were delicious and super sweet 😀
The sick tree took a month or two to settle in and then started to sent our extension growth, even from part of the tree I assumed to be dead. The tree will need to have some deadwood features but with a few more years I hope to prove that it was worth the time and effort.
Anyway, here’s the sick tree now.
And here’s the 50€ special.
I’ll be keeping both trees, one for the challenge and one for the tasty apples 😂
My Crab Apple has been in flower this week and the scent has been amazing too. I’ve been trying to capture a bee in a snap shot visiting the blooms but they either fly off or it’s been raining. Running out of time as the flowers will soon be over.
I took a few more shots at the Autumn Flower Show on Sunday, as the last set seems to be of interest to many of you, here are some more.
A general shot of the main marquee
Not much point trying to photograph all the trees as the clutter backdrop ruins the tree.
Plenty of cacti at the show, sadly some kid ran her nail down a prize winning one ruining it forever as far as competitive showing goes. Sometimes I wonder why we bother going to all this hassle to display here.
Almost tree like
Sunlight was catching these blooms just right through the window.
Even wine, everything was at this show.
This will be my entry for the Belfast Parks Photographic Competition next year 🙂
And in the grounds, the Rose Garden
An old Yew. I was admiring the nebari and took a photo, I think the Mum in the background thought I was taking photos of her kids climbing the tree!! I thought she was going to call the police.
I was putting a few trees into the Autumn Flower Show for the Club on Friday and I took a few photos while I was there.
The show is set in the grounds of Botanic Gardens in the Centre of Belfast. The grounds contain some interesting features. I haven’t a clue what the cows are about!
This old yes is long over due collecting 🙂
A park character
Watching this old hand prepare his dahlias for show was nice to see. This is a dying art as shows such as this start to disappear. What a pity.
Some of the Dahlias on display.
Cacti also on display.
Probably one of the worst ways to display bonsai in competitive classes, no back drop, low tables etc but it still allows the public a chance to see bonsai and perhaps lift one of the club cards available on the tables.
Perhaps I’ll get a few more photos today when I collect the trees.