A Gardening Journal
The Best Season Ever: Standards of Cinderella Crabapple in Winter
- Published: February 10 2016
Snow is typical in Winter here, but its timing, frequency, amount, and duration can vary. February is usually the snowiest month, with March a close second. How well plants tolerate snow varies as much as the plants themselves. In the picture below, lower things (dwarf box here) are simply buried. Not interesting. At the back, the white diagonal cross-hatching is the Belgian fence of beeches. Good, indeed.
At the front is a trio of standards whose rigid branches are erect and branchy enough to function like hands reaching skyward: perfect to catch, hold, and display heavy snow—and with style and seeming pleasure. These are standards of the dwarf crabapple Malus 'Cinderella' and, amazingly, nurseries don't mention how good they look after each blizzard. I guess that's understandable: With Spring flowers (white) and colorful fruit in Fall (yellow), this little tree is already quite gardenworthy.
Plus, shoppers in Spring and Summer won't be as tempted by a phrase such as "Looks fluffy and stays erect even after punishing blizzards" as they would by, say, "Prolific red buds open to white flowers, and are followed by showy yellow fruits that persist late into the Fall."
Or this: "Naturally dense growth forms an upright broad oval all by itself." Or "Hardy from northern Vermont to southern Georgia." Too bad for southern Georgia that heavy snow is rare there.
Notice how the snow is integrated into the entire canopy. It isn't a thick layer perched on top like a hat you weren't expecting to wear but, for days or weeks, are now stuck with. Nor does the weight of the snow splay the branches apart, creating the look of discomfort let alone the danger of splits or outright failure.
Rather, the canopy seems organized not just to withstand snow but, by taking it to heart, show it off. Plenty of plants bear flowers, foliage, and fruit. Far fewer can hold thousands of snowflakes aloft so handily it seems as if this was the point of it all.
Here's how dignified and yet sociable Cinderella is when surrounded by a full throng of colorfully-foliage plants in Summer.
Here's how full of promise Cinderella is when in bud in Spring.
I'll post further seasonal peaks of Cinderalla—and include a full profile—soon.