Thursday, May 2, 2013

Red leafed apple baby

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Geneva Crab Apple 2010

Gardening is an exercise in optimism: that things will be better, that visions of the delights of a gentle earth can become manifest, that tomorrow will happen. Like many a person has said, you plant a tree not only for yourself but for the a future you may never see: for the creatures, for shade, for fruit, for children to dare to climb up to a strong limb and dangle their feet into the thrilling air below.

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Seedling tree roots

Nearly three years ago, my daughters and I were walking in the Arboretum at the Experimental Farm when we found a tree with unblemished apples. Picking one from the ground, we opened it to find red flesh. I brought another home and extracted the seeds. Some of these sprouted and now I have one with bright red leaves.

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Digging it into its permanent home, I discovered what look to be the remains of an old compost pile with egg shells and squash seeds.

I don't know whether or not it will have the tasty red fleshed cider fruit of its parent Geneva or be what is unfortunately called a spitter but I hope to find out one day. Now it is a small seedling planted at the back of the old greenhouse demo garden. As I was placing its roots into the soil, I imagined it growing gnarled and craggy like crabapples do. I saw it covered in pinkish blossoms in the spring, red leaves in the summer and fruit in the fall. I saw its bare limbs covered in snow. I imagined a future of plenty.

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The leaves remained red all summer last year.

Some other things that are going on:

If you follow me on Facebook, then you'll know we like to hold Tree Thursday. Ephemeral walk coming up soon.

I've been helping out at the Canadian Organic Growers Demonstration Garden at the Experimental Farm. If you are interested, let me know.

Also, Aster Lane Edible's first workshop 'The roots go down (mostly): A veggie garden workshop for the complete beginner' will be held May 16.


Anonymous said...

Your description sounds like the reason some people give for buying lottery tickets. It gives them a chance to dream. But the odds are so much better planting a tree.

Daphne Gould said...

I never knew that apples could come in red. Well on the inside. I know they come in red on the outside. And I've never seen an apple tree with red leaves either.

Stefaneener said...

Lovely. Enjoy that gorgeous foliage, no matter what happens in the long term. How many years to fruit?

Unknown said...

You could probably get it to fruit quickly by grafting it on to an existing tree, or rootstock.