Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Speak Of May

"I thought that spring must last forevermore


For I was young and loved,


and it was May."
~ Vera Brittain, May Morning


Oh why does my Prunus triloba ‘Multiplex’ (double flowering plum) have to bloom its head off this year, of all years? For the last two Mays we’ve been here it has put out a half dozen blooms at best. A sweet but paltry offering, and rather fleeting. Worse yet, it was planted by the previous owners up against the driveway, so that whenever we get out of the vehicle we get caught up in it. I have pruned that side of it as naturally looking as possible and have succeeded at keeping it at bay – for now. I was firm that it was coming out this year. So why is every centimetre of it covered in buds this year? Why does it look so beguiling that even my toddler is enchanted with it, touching the buds each time he goes by? Maybe if I take a course in pruning I can keep it off the driveway and keep it balanced looking. In the meantime, the next week or two promises a blush of enchantment that will not, I repeat, will not, influence or woo me in any way. Not at all. I mean, who likes pink frothy spring blooms anyway? Just in case, though, tell me there's a way to prune this charmer and keep it looking balanced. I mean, my job as resident gardener of this forgotten garden is all about making things work, right?

30 comments:

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

lol! I have to laugh! Every other gardener on Earth would be complaining if it didn't bloom!

Maybe it can be moved when it is dormant in the fall?

Maybe you will get a tree full of fruit this year!

I like your blog. Nice pics!

sweet bay said...

Beautiful! You have captured wonderful atmosphere in your photographs.

nancybond said...

Beguiling is a perfect description -- what delightful, delicate blooms!

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Beautiful post! Your photography skills are so much better than mine! 'Blooming it's head off' made me laugh, since mine are doing the same. I had my 2 booked for removal last year, but cancelled at the last minute. Mostly since my toddlers were enchanted with the blooms in the past, even though there were only a handful at ground level. This year they are amazing. I can't give any pruning advice, ours are huge and the more we prune, the more unruly they seem. I find the branches incredibly sharp and pointy, not something I'd want to be caught up in. I just saw one pruned to a multistem tree (like a lilac), it looked great, I don't know if it was done when young though but might be something you could try, if it doesn't work removal is always an option. Although I'm looking out on my clouds of pink flowers thinking 'phew, I'm glad I saved you'. Good luck!

Clayton said...

Life is never balanced - look in the mirror! Make it fit the place and sculpture to suit the space. It could "weep" away from the driveway so to speak. The cutting you did probably stirred up the hormones and got things going. We have this all the time here with Simplex and with the Nankings who are the 1st cousin.
They are all blooming or coming into bloom with great vigor. No frost please.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Ms S !! .. those are such beautiful photos .. who could be annoyed with such a gorgeous creature ? *smile* .. I understand your need for balance though .. I have to stop myself a great deal from trying to "balance" pruning. It came to a serious matter this afternoon when I had to prune a newbie ornamental Japanese Maple .. I had to wait for husband to be away (fishing) then do the deed VERY carefully .. I just bought and planted it recently .. when I told him that it had to be pruned into a weeping form .. well, you don't want to know ? LOL
Prune it to what ever makes you happy I say !!
Joy : )

Anna said...

Oh what a beauty ~ I would let it flower wherever it wanted to and could never have enough :) Great photos.

Clayton said...

By the way speaking of balance - your choice of poem and photo are the real McCoy!

Northern Shade said...

They have such beautiful blooms, that are so tiny, and yet packed with so many petals. I didn't have to plant one in my garden corner, since my neighbour's double flowering plum stretches over the fence.

I'm picturing everyone having to scoot over the car seats and out the other door. Why do previous owners plant large shrubs and trees in such awkward spaces? Perhaps all little shrubs for sale at the nursery should come with a full size cardboard cutout of the mature size, yes, that little stick will grow.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Sheryl: Thanks! I hope it can be moved. There is another spot where it would be so much suited.

Sweet bay: Thank you. It is such a romantic shrub right now I really wanted to catch the beauty of it.

Nancy: It is stealing my heart! What’s a girl to do?

Rebecca: I wonder if this is just their year? A handful of blooms at the bottom are all I had previous to this. Now the whole neighbourhood is full of them blooming like mad. Some of them are pruned nicely, some into a horrible mushroom shape and some are just wildly unruly. I am hoping to thin it out and shape it so that it doesn’t look too one-sided. I may also try to move it. Hard to decide!

Clayton: Thank for commenting on the choice of poem. To me, a very simple poem suits the sweet month of May. I think I will carry on with the pruning for another year, now that the shrub has wowed me with what it can do. We will see what it looks like next year.

Joy: I am really hoping I can prune and keep it where it is. I have spied another spot for it, but it is rather large at this point to move. The shrub has earned a reprieve for at least another year!

Anna: It is a beauty! I am so amazed at how great it can look, given its previous underperformance. Now if I can just make it work in that spot, it will have earned its keep!

Northern Shade: The previous owners were very elderly and it seems any planting they did in later years was positioned to be where they could see it out the window. In the back there was a Mayday tree planted centred four feet in front of the family room window. We consulted an arbourist and there was no way to move it as it was too big. It covered the window and completely blocked the view out into the yard. Sadly, we had to take it out. I hope we can make this shrub work where it is as it is turning out to be a real spring charmer!

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

*I like Northerns cardboard cutout idea lol.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Me too!! hee hee :)

Laurrie said...

They only bloom when threatened, even if only in your thoughts. It's a survival thing. You must honor that, and keep your frothy pink plum where it is. If fruit trees can be espaliered into such contorted shapes, I would think you could keep this severely pruned, but I'm no expert. Your pictures are hauntingly beautiful against the dark backgrounds.

Amy said...

Those are some of the prettiest photos that I have ever seen. Love it!

The Garden Ms. S said...

Laurrie: I am getting inspired! Maybe this is the perfect project to "hone" some new pruning skills on. I have been reading up on it and may take a course. Any pruning I have done so far has been simple common sense pruning but I'm sure there is lots to learn about it.

Amy: You are too kind! I have to give the shrub full credit. It's the model, not the photographer. Right now, it couldn't look anything but gorgeous even if it tried. :)

Diane Schuller said...

such gorgeous photos! I know what you mean and how fortunate it bloomed like crazy this year for you. When I used to have one, most years it barely produced more than half a dozen blooms either. every once in a while.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Diane: Thank you for the kind words! I see these shrubs blooming all over the neighbourhood this year. It must be *their* year. I will give it another year and some more pruning and see how it does.

Christine B. said...

I had every intention of moving mine. Then I decided to move three large trees first. After that backbreaking effort, I just cut the durn thing down to the ground...don't get mad, it was only 1/2" diameter twig. So I haven't had those blooms in the yard for a few years. My bad, I guess.

Christine in Alaska

The Garden Ms. S said...

Christine B: I totally understand. Sometimes, it's just time for things to go. Kinda like breaking up with Mr. Not-quite-right ;)

Of Spring and Summer said...

Oh, what wonderful balls of pink beauty!! I love your pictures and I love the little poem. I have written it down so that I will remember it!!
Have a wonderful weekend.
Ingrid xx

The Garden Ms. S said...

Hi Ingrid, thank you! I hope your weekend is wonderful as well! :)

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi,
I'm trying to remember if I've been to your blog before. I clicked on your name from a comment to Sweetbay. I love your photos, writing, and sense of humor.

I'm no help with what to do about your tree. It sure is a beauty!

Britta said...

Your pictures and the poem are really beautiful! I think the plum is flowering because it feels your intention - trying to seduce you (I once spoke to a non-flowering dailily - scolding her gently in the second year - well, she understood and flowered in the third; although in bright orange, and my garden is more in pink and blue and pale yellow - but that was her nature, so it was o.k.) Britta

The Garden Ms. S said...

Hi Sue, Thank you for your kind words! I am still torn on what to do with this shrub. It is so pretty but so badly sited. I will wait a year and see then!

Britta: Thanks for stopping by! Now if I could just train my husband to read my mind and anticipate my actions the way the garden does. :-)

Laura said...

Of course it would make a showy, last ditched effort at survival. With blooms like that I'd be having a tough time taking it down too.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Laura, we ended up having some much needed rain this week and that really shortened the bloom time. I want the buds back! :-)

joanne May said...

Your photos are so beautiful. I love the May blossoms.:)
The dusky pinks look stunning and really delicate.
I hope you decide not to cut this beauty down. I feel it is magical and it is showing you its full blossom glory so you give it a second chance to live!

Spring Blessings.:)

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Hey Ms S, I was thinking about your trip down to my neck of the woods and have a few suggestions for you (hope you don't mind!). As you saw on my blog, Nikka Yuko is a lovely spot to visit, then I would recommend heading out to the Fairfield gardens at the Ag. Canada research centre, just out of town (10 mins from Nikka Yuko), right across the street is my favorite garden centre (Green Haven), and then another 5 mins down the road is the wonderful Broxburn Cafe, all organic grown on site veggies and wonderful homemade soups/buns, with a garden market. Sharing a parking lot is a large garden centre. All of this can be done in less than 2 hours, so if you have time you may enjoy it! :) Let me know if there's anything else you need! R

The Garden Ms. S said...

Joanne: Hi, and welcome! This shrub has definitely swayed my heart this year. I have to give it a chance and I will do my best to prune it. Who can resist it in bloom? :-)

Rebecca, Wow - thanks for all the info!! You should consider being an ambassador for the gardening side of your city. :-) It is going to be a short, busy trip but I am going to squeeze as much gardening stuff in as possible. I am so thrilled with all the suggestions you have made - it is really so kind of you. Thank you, thank you! :-)

miss m said...

Wow ! You've outdone yourself in the photography dept, Ms. S. These shots are dreamy !

Shame getting rid of such a beauty BUT if you're really keen on giving it the old heave-ho, the only advice I could offer is, next time, do it before it blooms ! ;)