The simplest yet, just a ranunculus, and apple blossoms in various stages of opening. We’ve been gardening on this property since we moved back to West Marin, in the winter of 2013-14. The trees were bare, but we could tell one of them was an old apple tree. I think it’s a Gravenstein. Some years it’s thick with fruit, some years not, which is normal for apples. This year should be abundant if the blossoms and last year are anything to go by. Sonoma County, around Sebastopol, used to be Gravenstein country, but the orchards have disappeared as wine grapes have taken over.
The Gravenstein is our only full-sized fruit tree. We have dwarf and columnar apples growing in the west yard, protected from the deer by a fence. The dwarfs are espaliered along the upper fence. They include a fig, a cross between a nectarine and an apricot, an Asian pear with four types of pears, a Warren pear (most favored), a Cox’s Orange Pippen apple, and an Anna apple. There’s always a competition with the raccoons for who gets to harvest first.
My husband discovered columnar apples when we had a postage stamp-sized garden in Berkeley. They’re perfect for small spaces. As the name implies, they grow vertically, in a column and the apples grow along the trunk. They have great names — Scarlet Sentinel and North Pole.