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.
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.