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.

10 comments:

Ditto said...

Very interesting. If I had to guess I'd say you were in low light, using an external flash with a slow shutter speed, and the flower moved a bit after the flash went off.

heirloomgardener said...

I like it.

Lancashire rose said...

This photo captures many things and the main one I see, apart from being a lovely subject, is the fact that spring is in the air. Lucky you. Such a wonderful time of year with new hopes for the garden. For us, we would be happy if fall would start to make an appearance.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your perspective brings the cherry blossoms into focus clearly as individual flowers. I can almost feel the spring.

Amanda said...

Gorgeousness.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get your Nanking Cherry plants from?
Is there a Nursery in Australia that has stock of the plants or seeds?
I have been searching high and low, all over Oz for the plant.
Any help of info will be very much appreciated.
Thanks.

Chookie said...

Anonymous, I have never seen Nanking Cherry for sale in a nursery. Not once. Your best bet is to find a house which has it and ask for a cutting (in Sydney, you'd do this in autumn). Actually, I used a spade to slice off a bit, including the roots, but it might be a bit intimidating if you turn up to a stranger's house with a spade!

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to get seeds from your tree this season? I am in Blue Mountains.
Thanks, Simon

Anonymous said...

4 years on..... Have you found a source of these plants yet in Australia? I would really really love to get my hands on about 10 plants for a hedge.

Chookie said...

I'm afraid I still haven't seen it anywhere; try talking to elderly neighbours about it.