Plant of the month: January
One of the glories of any May garden are the flowering shrubs and trees in the Rosaceae family, which includes the cherries, crab apples and cotoneasters as well as roses themselves. One of the finest crab apples is the Hupeh crab from Western China. It has superb large pink blushed white flowers at this time of the year and the cutest small shiny red apples the size of aniseed balls in the fall and good autumn colour. It was one of the favourite trees of our most important past horticulturist Ernest Henry Wilson (Chinese Wilson), who introduced it from China in 1900. It is a wide-spreading tree and a smaller crab such as Malus ‘Evereste’ might be more appropriate for the more modest garden. It is also worth remembering that the culinary fruiting apples, pears, cherries and quince also make fantastic small ornamental trees giving you blossom and fruit as a bonus.