Posts Tagged ‘crab apple’

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weathering the Storm

Quince

Afternoon sun shining on the quince in Bonnefont cloister garden, which weathered last week’s “super storm” without damage. The Venetian wellhead at the center of the garden has been provided with a wooden shelter to protect it from the elements; the cover will be removed in the spring.  Photograph by Carly Still

The veteran quince and espaliered pear in Bonnefont garden, the pollarded crab apples in Cuxa cloister, the lady apple orchard, and the mature oaks and hollies outside the Museum walls have all come safely through the storms of the past two weeks, despite considerable damage in Fort Tryon Park.

On Halloween morning, staff were relieved to see that the gardens had come through unscathed. In the Middle Ages, as in antiquity, violent storms and the consequent destruction of crops were among the events attributed to the malice of witches. For a translation of the ninth-century bishop Agobard of Lyon’s rebuttal of the superstitious attribution of hail and thunder to human agency, visit the Medieval Sourcebook on the University of South Alabama website.

—Deirdre Larkin

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taking It Back

A Pollard In Need of Pruning

The pruning of our fruit trees is undertaken in winter, when the trees are dormant. Above: One of four pollarded crab apples in need of pruning in Cuxa garden

The first important horticultural task of the New Year was the pruning of the crab apples in Cuxa cloister garth garden. (This year, the work was performed on Plough Monday, the traditional day on which farmers and workers returned to the fields after the Christmas rest. For a nineteenth-century account of the history of Plough Monday in English tradition, see Chambers’s Journal of popular literature, science and arts, Vol. 56.) Read more »

Friday, February 25, 2011

Woodswoman, Pollard That Tree

Frances Reidy at work Detail of the pruning A pollard head

A medieval technique of hard pruning, known as pollarding, is used on the four crab apple trees in Cuxa Cloister garden to control the height of the trees and the spread of their canopies. The pruning is done in late winter, while the trees are still dormant.

Above: Frances Reidy, our arborist, cutting last spring’s growth back to the same “head” as the previous spring’s. This successive hard pruning produces the “knuckles” of tissue characteristic of pollarded trees. This is the third year in which the technique has been applied; the knuckles at the head of the branches will become more pronounced as the pollard matures.

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