Apples, violets and a caterpillar

This caterpillar is too big to have grown this season. It must have overwintered.

Virginia ctenucha - Tiger Moth
Virginia ctenucha – Tiger Moth

Another spring wildflower out today. Our lawn is full of these. I have no idea why people would want to put “weed”killer on their lawns when you can have a carpet of violets if you leave it alone.

Violets
Violets

Our “orchard”, mostly crabapples, is going to be spectacular this year if the long range forecast holds and we don’t get a late, heavy frost. Almost every bud that opened has a cluster of flower buds inside so if they survive it will be one of the better years – it is usually from 20% to 80%, varying from year to year.

Crabapple buds
Crabapple buds

and pushing the luck even further, if we can keep the pests away, we should have lots of apples too. Last year was bad as we got very little fruit (in both senses, not many and tiny). This is a Macintosh.

Apple buds
Apple buds

Our sour cherry barely survived the winter before. I didn’t like to cut too much off until this year, to see if it survived at all. This winter was very harsh but no more damage. Still, I’ll have to cut off about 3/4 of the tree, which is 20 years old and had just started producing a lot of really nice fruit. The other big casualty of two hard winters is my beautiful corkscrew hazel, which had grown quite big but now has only one surviving branch and is smaller than when I bought it. 

Author: Eric Lawton

Eric is a natural philosopher living in rural Ontario

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