YOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE A LOT. Gardening in the worst of times includes losses, and you may recall I lost a couple of crabapples this year to bark borers. Gardening in the best of times is when a variety of crab like ‘Bob White’ is in fruit…the only one the birds have left for me to enjoy this winter, or at least so far.
Malus ‘Bob White’ was great in flower—pinkish fading to near-white—but what I love about this crabapple, and why I grow it, is its golden fruit. Unlike some yellow-fruited crabs, ‘Bob White’ stays pretty nice through a lot of frosts in my cold zone; others turn brown and mushy too soon to be winter ornamentals, really.
‘Bob White’ didn’t make the Brooklyn Botanic Garden top 10 in their 2005 article rating crabs…but it was #11, the alternate behind ‘Hozam’ (or ‘Holiday Gold’) among the yellow-fruited forms. The article is worth a look if you’re thinking of adding a crabapple to your landscape, because choosing can be a challenge, and they have the great ones profiled.
I grow my yellow-fruited crabs just beyond a stand of yellow-twig dogwood, Cornus sericea ‘Silver and Gold,’ so that my distant view of the whole gleaming area right now is quite nice: linear gold beneath a haze of golden baubles. The photo shows a small section of the combination.
The birds will be back, I’m sure, for ‘Bob White,’ but offcolor fruits (read: other than red) seem to hold little interest until they are really hungry. I’ve talked about this before with hollies, and the same hold true with crabs. At least they have some consideration for my winter cheer, I suppose. By the way, I replaced the ‘Bob White’ the bark borers took. Gardening includes losses, yes, but mostly it includes faith.