Crab apples at Wisley

Superb trees for the smaller garden, rarely reaching more than 20′ in height, with interest over several seasons – these small to medium-sized trees produce beautiful blossom in April-May as well as long-lasting decorative fruit in the autumn. Many have vibrant autumn leaf colour too.

Crab apples are excellent pollinators for eating/cooking apple varieties – they are very effective as they produce so much blossom and flower over a long period. The small fruit of crab apples is mouth-puckeringly sour, but makes a good jelly (high in natural pectins).

This selection was photographed in the Arboretum (tree collection) at the RHS gardens at Wisley – an excellent opportunity to assess the qualities of a great number or trees side by side – growth habit, size at maturity, and just now,  the size, colour and shape and abundance of the fruit.

I turn again to the excellent nursery, Orange Pippin Trees, who have a passion for all fruiting trees, including crab apples and they give descriptions of a great many varieties that you might find in your local garden centre and in specialist nurseries like their own. There is sure to be a beautiful tree suitable for your garden and I would recommend, like my trip out today, a little first hand research and perhaps a look at their website for more information.

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