May 04, 2015

A New Perspective on Crabapples in Bloom

layers

In the past, when I've tried to photograph our Crabapple trees, I've been less than thrilled with the results. Somehow shooting up into the blooms just didn't do them justice. I'm still working on capturing this subject, but recently I experimented a bit.

As I walked into one of our second-story rooms, I realized a glorious view: Crabapples blooming just outside the window. (The scent was amazing, too.)

Now, photographing them outside this window would mean focusing through glass, but I thought I'd give it a go. The results were fun. This first one is unimpressive for tons of reasons, but it shows the perspective of the Crabapple tops just outside the window:

window

It might appear that the blooms are touching the window, which isn't the case, but they do drape over the roof line a bit. And with an open window, one could reach out and touch them. (Did you notice the Blue Jay?)

I'm not sure of the names our cultivars. There are approximately 1,000 varieties of Crabapples (Malus spp.), with about 100 commonly planted in the U.S., according to Colorado State University. One of ours here has peachy/white buds that bloom to bright white; the other has vibrant dark pink buds and blooms, with red/gold-tinged foliage.

crab 2

crab 1

crab 4

crab 3

crab 6

crab 5

waxwing 1

As I was experimenting with the camera through the window glass, I noticed something moving in the distance among the white blooms.

waxwing 2

waxwing 3

waxwing 4

Several Cedar Waxwings, enjoying the sweet flowers.

screen

I experimented with focusing through the screen, which yielded interesting effects.

side view

I noticed sunlight hitting the petals in lovely patterns from a side view.

bouquet flowers

I also picked a few blooms for a bouquet, and included a sprig of Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) and foliage from Ressurection Lilies (Lycoris squamigera). (I'm linking this post to Rambling in the Garden's "In a Vase on Monday" meme.)

bouquet

In my experience, the vase life of Crabapple blooms is only a few days. Then again, their stunning show on the trees lasts only as long as the next thunderstorm, of which we have several in the forecast during the next few days. So I'll savor the blooms while they last.

backlit

56 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Beth. I never see either of your birds in the flowering ornamental trees here, but the warblers are after the insects in them in our area. Mostly I see the waxwings and bluejays along forest edges at this time of year. Buffalo is having their Cherry Blossom Festival right now, so we are having the same bloom time as you right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Donna. It was a fun experiment, anyway. I was surprised to see the Blue Jay there, but the Waxwings commonly hang out in our fruit trees. They eat the petals in spring and the fruit in the fall. It could be because our property is along a small forest edge. Mmmm...Cherry Blossoms! They are so beautiful, too!

      Delete
  2. Stunning photos of your gorgeous blossoms. How lovely they look in a vase. I love Malus trees. Wonderful blossom and then attractive fruit too. What interesting birds you get.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chloris. I love them, too. They do look pretty in the vase, but they are drooping already (even though I sliced the stems a bit to help with vase life). But not a bad idea for a bouquet for a day-long special occasion. The birds are fun. I took some video, too, that maybe someday I'll splice into a presentable piece. ;-)

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Kylee. I'm already planning for next year with these to get some better shots and video. ;-)

      Delete
  4. So pretty! I have crabapple trees on my list of trees to add to our garden. I see finches in our cherry trees eating the blooms. So cedar waxwings eat the crabapple blooms and the berries? Your flower arrangements is beautiful. I never cut flowers from the garden to put in an arrangement to enjoy indoors. I really should try it sometime. I like that you were experimenting with different shots of the blooms. I haven't had time to play around with my camera for a long time. Thanks for the inspiration Beth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karin: Thanks! Yes, the Waxwings pick off the petals, and then they come back in the late summer and fall to eat the berries. We have some flowering fruit trees in the back, too, which keep them here through the spring. I frequently cut flowers for bouquets, and some of them I grow partially for that purpose. I have to put them on a high shelf in the house, though, or my cats will eat them. ;-) I really shouldn't have taken the time this weekend, but the blooms out the window were inspiring (and heavily scented).

      Delete
  5. Yes savour the blooms. It is blowing a gale here as I write, I'm glad I captured our crab apple blossom before it hit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Crabapples in the front are past peak now with the thunderstorms and the rain. But they're still pretty with the petals dropping on the ground below them. And they still smell heavenly! Yes, I'm glad you were able to capture yours, too, before the winds lifted them away!

      Delete
  6. Our crab is right outside the kitchen windows. I really love to able to see the flowers close up when I'm at the sink. Makes doing dishes much more pleasant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great placement! We used to have a Cherry tree outside the kitchen window, but it died a couple of years after we moved in. I think it had simply lived its life span. It actually was fine, because it opened up some sunshine and provided the perfect spot for our bird feeders. So, I see shrubs, Shagbark Hickory trees, and birds outside the kitchen window. I imagine you have some great birding views out your window, too!

      Delete
  7. Wow! Glorious discovery! Your photos are just beautiful and what a view. The Cedar Waxwings are in Wisconsin! Yay--I guess that's one of their summer breeding areas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tina: Thanks! Yes, the Waxwings are massing in our part of the state, anyway. You can't miss that high-pitched song of theirs. According to the Cornell Lab, some are here year-round. But I think they're like the robins--some remain and hang out near fast-flowing springs and sources of open water. I see them in big groups mainly in the spring and fall. They're so beautiful. :)

      Delete
  8. Dear Beth, I think your experiment paid off: Your photos of the Crabapples are simply awesome! Did I understand that right and all of the photos are taken through the window glass? Your windows must be very clean, they are amazingly sharp.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christina! Yes, I had to take them through the glass or the screen, because there were bees and birds out there! ;-) No, my windows aren't clean. Just enough to allow it to work.

      Delete
  9. I'd say your experiment was a success Beth. Those images are super and how lovely you captured the birds too. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Angie. I was surprised that it kind of worked. Now I'm trying to figure out how to photograph them next year with the windows open, and without allowing pollinators and birds inside!

      Delete
  10. These are the most beautiful crabapple photos I have ever seen, especially with the waxwings, an interesting bird I have never seen before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thank you! I really should have spent a little more time getting better Waxwing shots, but I ran out of time. They're such beautiful birds!

      Delete
  11. Beautiful. Our crab-apple will bloom this week. It is a huge old tree. My boys love to climb in it and play. When the petals fall we call it pink snow. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What sweet memories for your kids. :) Yes, the petals do look like snow when they drop. That is also a lovely stage of the Crabapples. Great trees--especially for our climate!

      Delete
  12. You have captured some lovely shots! That deep pink is so beautiful, and now I know that the pink blurs we were driving by [he drives faster then me] are crabapples] I was wondering what they were, since they are not allowed to grow ornamental cherries up here in the Okanagan.

    Aren't the Cedar Waxwings the most beautiful singers? Trilling to be sure.

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank, Jen. Yes, the dark pink is a bewitching mauve/rose pink to start and then the open blooms are bright pink. Interesting that you can't grow ornamental cherry trees. Maybe you've posted about that in the past? If not, I'd be interested to learn why. Yes, the Cedar Waxwings are beautiful and beautiful singers!

      Delete
  13. Beautiful photos, Beth!

    Have you noticed a lot of bees or other pollinators in your crabapple this year?

    This is my first full year with a crabapple and I was delighted to find that it buzzed with insects for (it seemed) weeks! Now there are lots of little crabapples forming on the tree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Aaron. To answer your question: Yes! It's a very long story as to why I didn't include any honeybee/bumblebee photos in this post, but it can mostly be summed up with one word: "wind." The day before I got out the camera, the winds were calm and I should have snapped the photos then. Alas, the branches were dipping and swaying this day and the pollinators weren't as active (or as stationary). But, yes, the trees were humming with pollinators the day before! Enjoy your new Crabapple tree!

      Delete
  14. What a cute bird, Beth. I love the first photo as well as the others. It demonstrates something I was reading about today: selective focussing. We are lucky if we have window views like yours. I used to take photos through the glass, but it doesn't work so well when the windows are dirty, and this post reminds me I've been very slack in that area lately!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sue. Yes, selective focusing is a great term for it! The blooms on the Crabapples are always so pretty, but I could never get a decent angle on them looking up. Regarding the glass: No, my windows aren't clean! I should have scrubbed them thoroughly, but I guess the camera was able to adjust to focus on the mid-distance of the flowers outside the window. I'm always very slack about house-cleaning, but especially this time of year when there's so much to do outside!

      Delete
  15. There is nothing like flowering apple trees.....and the wonder of them blowing all over in the wind.....like a mock snowstorm! You took some really great pictures and I love how you captured the light!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The lawn is "snowy" with pink and white petals now. The trees are actually lovely at this stage, too, but much beyond peak bloom. They're wonderful trees to have in the suburban landscape!

      Delete
  16. Your photos are amazing, Beth, and even more delightful with the Cedar Waxwings! It has been such a good year for crabapples here, not only on our property but all the ones lining the highways as well. They've lost most of their blooms in the last few days, though, which always makes me a bit sad. Yet another lovely arrangement! I've brought in lilacs, which has been the extent of my flower arrangements:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rose! I need to get a better telephoto lens to capture the Waxwings' detail, but my optical zoom on my digital camera isn't too bad. Your Crabapples along your entrance are incredible! What a stately view! Lilacs are just starting to bloom here--I can always count on you to tell me what to expect in my garden in a few days. ;-)

      Delete
  17. What beautiful photos, and your visiting waxwing added yet another dimension. I love how the one sprig of bleeding heart was all that was necessary to complement the blossom in your vase. All very lovely, Beth, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cathy: Thanks for hosting the "in a vase" meme! I was going to cut more Bleeding Hearts, but I couldn't bring myself to do it, since they're just coming into their glory. That one sprig seemed to balance out the pink crabapple blooms, and the lily foliage helped to give the vase a little height. But I do think Crabapple flowers are prettier on the tree!

      Delete
  18. Fleeting pleasures are bittersweet, aren't they? I got several mere whips of crabapples at a native plant sale two years ago. When they finally bloom, they will be right down at camera level. I would love to have your problem (which you solved admirably).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, one feels blessed to witness these special moments, yet melancholy about their passing. Oh, how fun to have new Crabapple trees! It will be fun for you to watch them grow and fill out!

      Delete
  19. Love the birds in the trees! I also love the photo with the sun hitting the petals. We actually just planted a couple crabapple trees in the garden, and I am so excited to see them bloom! It's funny to see the bees zooming around the buds - they are probably anxious for them to bloom, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Indie. The bumbles and the honey bees were going crazy for the blooms the day before these pics were taken. I delayed grabbing the camera until the next day, which was a mistake because it was windy and they weren't landing as much. It is fun to watch them, though. Enjoy your new Crabapples!

      Delete
  20. Yes, yes, yes!! Great mages capturing the beauty of blooms. Well done with observing through the window!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lula. :) Sometimes inspiration and curiosity hit in unexpected ways and in unexpected places. Mostly, it's fun to experiment!

      Delete
  21. The dark pink crabapple blooms in front of my front window is the only thing I miss about my old apartment. There is only one small tree no taller than I am on the block where I live now, but I have seen a lot of them in bloom on my walks and at the Arboretum. It's too bad the blooms only last until the next stiff wind (and it's grown pretty windy today) or storm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the wind really does a number on them after peak bloom! The petals on mine are coating the ground around them now, which is pretty in a different way. We also have one in the backyard that's still blooming, but I can't get as good an angle on that one. The shape from a distance is better, though. Many people in McFarland have them, so if you act fast and take a drive through town, you'll see some very lovely ones. ;-)

      Delete
  22. Beautiful blooms Beth! My iPad keeps knocking my comments out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Sorry to hear that. I've had issues at times, as well, with various devices. It's so frustrating!

      Delete
  23. Wonderful photos, especially love the ones with the Cedar Waxwings. Creative thinking on your part! Our 'Donald Wyman' is at peak bloom right now, 'Golden Raindrops' still has a few days to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I've never noticed before how many varieties of Crabapples we have in the neighborhood. Some are still blooming now, more than a week later. Even in my garden, the trees are staggered. That's good, because when one is done, there's more to look forward to.

      Delete
  24. Stunning Beth . . . lush and so beautiful . . .
    And the Cedar Waxwings . . . what a treat . . .
    (FYI, May Apples are flourishing here!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynne. I think it's neat that we both have similar lush patches of Mayapples. They have so much personality!

      Delete
  25. I think the Crabapple has one of the most prettiest flowers, having said that the Cherry blossom round here has been rather spectacular this year, the trees are heavy with flowers, we to have been having rain (April showers) with strong winds, the ground is now covered in pink.. Love the shot of the Waxwing in the tree, not seen one this year...
    Amanda xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Cherry Blossoms are incredible, too! That is a pretty scene, too--when the blossoms coat the ground around the trees. Thank you, Amanda!

      Delete
  26. Your crabapples are gorgeous, and the cedar waxwings like them too! It is fun to experiment with the camera. I was surprised to learn that one can actually get good shots through glass.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb: The glass was a slight impediment, but I sure get better angles from the second-story window. I love to experiment with light and angles and different subjects. I usually feel stressed and frustrated photographing people and animals, but plant photography is almost always fun and rewarding. Occasionally, I luck out and a Cedar Waxwing or some other bird or critter poses long enough for me to get a good capture or two. ;-)

      Delete
  27. I think k part of the beauty of spring blossom lies in its fleeting and fragile nature, though when blossom is frosted, preventing fruiting, the fragility becomes less magical. What a beautiful view from your window though! And very wise to capture some of that beauty in a vase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree, Janet. I guess we appreciate them more when they don't last forever. Next year, maybe I'll open up the window briefly and hope the pollinators and birds don't fly in. Seems a bit risky, though. ;-)

      Delete
  28. Beth I love your crabapples and that vase...how gorgeous. And I did notice the JAy and the Waxwing. I have not seen ours return yet, but the trees just are sporting leaves here so I expect them any day now. Orioles returned with hummers last week. I tried growing a crabapple in the meadow but the deer nearly killed it so maybe I will have to move it inside the fence for a bit more protection this fall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Orioles skipped my garden this year. I can hear them in the trees, though. And we've seen several this weekend up at the cottage. I guess that was a special event last year to have so many of them visit the feeders. The Jays are always around. Waxwings visit frequently, too, although seeing one through the frame of the Crabapple blossoms was a treat! Good luck with your Crabapple. I noticed the Arboretum here has to fence them in, too, until they get a little more mature.

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by!

(Your comment might not appear right away. PlantPostings uses comment moderation, and we read every comment before we publish.)