Saturday 16 May 2015

Love Hate Relationship with an Apple Tree

When we bought this old house on its one acre 16 years ago, we inherited many trees and weeds and rocks from previous owners. This was once a working farm, but has since had its barn taken away and bulldozed into the ground, and the land severed into a smaller parcel. One tree that remained was an apple tree. It is located between our house and the chicken coop (now empty). I love it (right now). When it is in bloom, it looks bridal and ethereal.
I love how it looks and smells and makes me happy that winter is well and truly over. Another thing that I love about it is that the orioles come to it. Orioles are one of my favourite birds. They stay briefly, have a beautiful song, and are just so exciting to see because you wonder how something can be that vibrant and gorgeous. I spotted my first oriole flying from the apple tree from the kitchen window this morning.
This is not a picture that I took, but I wish I had. I have often hung sliced oranges from trees to attract them. Sometimes they come, sometimes they don't.

But after the petals of the apple tree blossoms flutter to the ground, I start disliking my apple tree. Every other year, anyway. This is a funny old tree. I have no idea what kind it is. An elderly neighbour told me it was a "harvest apple", but I suspect that is just a generic term. It produces apples every other year. In the years that it produces apples, I hate it. We do not spray here. I do not prune this tree. It is rather big and would be a pain to maintain. But when it produces apples, it produces a ton of them. And they drop on the lawn. They need to be picked up, raked up, cleaned up. We dump wheel barrow loads of them off property (don't worry, it's fallow, weed-filled, neglected land). The wasps come. It stinks like rancid cider. They roll into my perennial bed. The apple tree is only doing what it is supposed to do, but we don't even eat the apples. They are soft, worm-ridden and generally smallish. I have even talked to the husband about cutting it down. He likes it. He doesn't rake up the apples. He thinks it would be neat to make cider. He thinks it would be neat to build a cider press (god help me).

But for now, I will be keeping watch, when I can, to spot the orioles and enjoy the beautiful display.


  1. I saw your post over at John's and you were saying you are in Southern Ontario. So am I in the Alliston area, so totally agreed with you about the wind turbines. I am referring to the ones in the Shelburne area that are close to us. You have a lovely property,


  2. I am with you on the old apple tree. We do love the blossoms and the attraction of bees, butterflies and birds. but those old wormy smelly rotting apples to pick up and get rid of.. pain , you know where. I laughed about the cider press. My neighbor grow organic apples...that means wormy. Once the parents on the other side of us had goats and I gathered the apples for the goats. I know I kept them fat and happy, one year. The goats are gone now. Last year there were fewer than a hundred apples on both the trees. This year plenty of blooms maybe that means lots of apples. I just can't make myself eat them....but as a kid I would have eaten worms and all. LOL. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  3. How funny- I never realized that there were apple trees that only produced every other year. I hated wormy apples when I was a kid and would toss them as far as I could rather than put them in the "picking" basket.
    But- like you said- there is beauty in the blooming! xo Diana