Monday, August 17, 2009
Picture This: Under the Nanking Cherry
August’s Picture This Photo Contest subject at Gardening Gone Wild is “Down on Your Knees”. Photos had to be taken from knee level or lower. I'm not quite sure how this photo acquired its psychedelic look, but it did, so I'm submitting it in the “Oh my goodness!” category!
I was simply trying to take a photo of the blossoms against the blue of the sky, and I liked this branch because it shows you the blooms in different stages, in sequence. I have taken another photo of the same branch below, for which I did not have to lie down.
I've always loved this plant, which we didn't know by name (it's Prunus tomentosa) for many years, and which I now know has many common names. It branches from the base, like Chaenomeles japonica, and the canes grow to about 60cm high. After about 30 years it may spread to cover more than a square metre and be rather taller... that's how long my Dad has been growing it. My plant is a cutting from his, and has delicate pale-pink blooms. A garden nearby has a variety that has musk-stick pink flowers with so many petals that they look like pom-poms, and more deeply wrinkled leaves than on our variety. It also seems to be taller, but it might just be a very old plant. I prefer our variety.
I'm growing my Nanking Cherry as part of a mixed informal hedge. It's a quiet, unobtrusive plant when not in flower, and even when it blooms the flowers are dainty rather than spectacular. It would be a lovely inclusion next to a reflective pool or some other place where it could be contemplated rather than passed over.