Under the apple tree

Sussex Life|June 2020

Under the apple tree
The priest, author and ecological thinker on his deep love for the countryside
PETER OWEN JONES

The very best time to prune an apple tree is late winter or very early spring. So it was surprise to see the clean-cut wood and the downed boughs of a Bramley tree in full blossom just lying there in the field. It was mid-April.

Picking apple blossom is surely akin to stealing apples. It is to my mind the most otherworldly of all blossoms, the bright pink buds running into white and lighter pink flowers, the flowers announce not that spring is coming but that spring is here, appearing with the first flush of butterflies. Now that these couple of boughs were down in the grass the blossom and leaves were wilting, so I clambered over the fence and picked some sprigs. I carried them home and placed them in a green Govancroft jar with some water. Within a couple of hours the pink and white petals lifted and the leaves filled and shone again, the buds continued opening and flowering for a week and one morning I ran the jar and these exquisite flowers over to the house of Sussex artist Jerry Shearing who applied his alchemy and turned paint into Bramley blossom.

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June 2020