I wanted to do just a quick post on the ‘Donald Wyman’ crab blooming now in our Front Garden. For me, the flowering of this tree is one of the most joyous moments defining spring in our garden. For the last two years in a row the bloom has been unusually prolific.

I love Crabapple trees. We picked ‘Donald Wyman’ because it was on the Chicago Botanic Garden’s list of recommended varieties for this area. And truly, it has performed extremely well. Lots of flowers (even in lighter blooming years), lots of ornamental and persistent red fruits, and for 17 years no disease problems – and we have never sprayed this tree with anything.

Only thing is, the birds will not eat the fruit of ‘Donald Wyman’ – one reason why the fruit is so persistent. On the other hand, in terms of wildlife, Crabapples in general are considered highly beneficial to pollinators. And even if they don’t eat the fruit, some birds eat the buds. Others are drawn to the insects that are attracted by the flowers. ‘Donald Wyman’ is not a native tree, but if you want a Crabapple native to the Midwest you can try Iowa Crabapple (Malus ioensis). It may not be easy to find, though, and is less resistant to some diseases than a number of cultivars.

‘Donald Wyman’ Crabapple fruit
‘Donald Wyman’ Crabapple, smothered in blooms
‘Donald Wyman’ Crabapple blooming in the evening light in front of our house.

Speaking of Crabapples, Judy and I are looking forward to the Crabapple display at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It’s spectacular, and we haven’t seen it for years. When we visited a couple weeks ago many of the Crabapple buds looked like they just needed a coupe of warm days for them to burst.

32 Comments on “Our ‘Donald Wyman’ Crabapple”

  1. What a beautiful tree! We are living in a small city but our front yard is tiny, and overseen by a giant sycamore. We planted two river birches and a willow in our backyard garden because they don’t mind the regular flooding.

  2. What a beauty it is! Do you have any other spring flowering trees? What is the tall shrub at the corner by the garage door? I have two eastern classics – a white dogwood and a redbud. And a Japanese snowbell, which is a charming small tree. I liked seeing the wide view of your front yard too.

  3. We enjoyed our beautiful Donald Wyman for about 25 years in our intensely humid Eastern Shore of Maryland location. I did not replace it due to total lack of pollinator/general insect/bird appeal. There has got to be an early season ornamental tree out there that also provides those benefits, other than cercis and amelanchier Have heard there are crabapples that birds do relish and would like to know, from experience, which ones. (The nursery industry is famously self-laudatory about their products’ positive attributes.)

  4. I still can’t get my mind around these small-fruited crabapples. Our trees had fruit that was golf-ball sized, or a little larger. They were so tart they were inedible for humans, and as I recall nothing ate those, either. They certainly didn’t bloom like this one. It’s gorgeous. (And I see the clematis back there, climbing up its trellis.)

  5. The big picture looks so white. (!) The close up seems more blushed like so many fruiting apples. (One of my fruiting apples, which grew from seed next to a sidewalk, happens to be very white!) Malus ioensis was one that intrigued me when you mentioned it earlier, but not enough to pursue it. As much as I would like a North American species, I am pleased with our common fruiting crabapple, even if I do not know the name. I do not know if I will ever get to grow one just as a flowering crabapple again.

  6. Delightful! As amazing as the blooms are, I find the berries to be the best feature of a crabapple, just in the time of year when anything in the garden is a gift. The PNW has many flowering cherries, but comes fall, they are outshined by the crabapple.

  7. It does give a wonderful display. I love the almond blossom here. Can’t grow it myself because it is is too windy. Do you make any jellies or chutneys from the crab apples?

    I also garden in an urban area and the challenges are different to those with lots of land.

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