Saturday, May 13, 2023

Grafted Apple Tree


5/9/23 Blossom and bud on a grafted apple tree

“Is that a Japanese crabapple?” I asked smartly. I don’t know a thing about apple trees, but that was the only variety name I had recently learned and could recall, so I thought I’d try it. (Of course, Japanese crabapple has pink blossoms, not white, so let’s just say I was making conversation.)

The owner of the tree, a neighbor several blocks north of us, corrected me with the name of the variety I was looking at. To my surprise, he then went on to tell me the three other apple varieties growing on the same tree. When I looked more closely, I saw that while all the blossoms were white, buds on some branches were white, and others were pink.

Most of the grafts had been done by someone else, he said, but he had done the fourth himself. Pointing to the tiny leaves sprouting from the ends of the spindly, finger-like stumps, he was pleased that the new graft seemed to be “taking.” Unfortunately, I didn’t take notes, so now I don’t recall the variety names, but he said the latest graft was for a fruit that he especially enjoyed eating. He gestured toward two smaller trees elsewhere in his yard that were the same variety and yielded delicious apples.

The latest graft has tiny, new leaves.

I had to get back home that day, but a few days later I went back to make these sketches.

When I was taking Kathleen Moore’s Winter Sketchbook +Watercolor class a couple of months ago, one of my hopes was that it would encourage me to do more spontaneous nature sketching from life. It’s something I enjoy whenever I do it, but somehow I don’t do it much – too busy with urban sketching, I guess. Anyway, now that the weather is more hospitable for all kinds of outdoor sketching, I’m hopeful that I’ll do more.

I won’t go so far as to call what I do “nature journaling,” for surely a true nature journaler would have remembered to note those apple varieties while the neighbor was talking. But anytime I draw anything, I observe more closely and pay better attention, so drawing is the first step.

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