The Apple-Tree in the Landscape

February 9, 2013 at 9:29 am

The April sun is soft on the broad open fenced fields, waking them gently from the long deep sleep of winter. Little rills are running full. The grass is newly coolly green. Fresh sprouts are in the sod. By copse and highway the shade bushes salute with their handkerchiefs. Apple-trees show tips of verdure. It is good to see the early greens of changing spring. It is good to look abroad on an apple-tree landscape.

As to its vegetation, the landscape is low and flat, not tall. There is a vast uniformity in plant forms, a subdued and constrained humility. A month later the leafage will be in glory, but that also will have an aspect of sameness and moderation. Perhaps the actual variety of species will be greater than in many parts of the abounding tropics, and to the careful observer the luxuriance will be as great, although not so big; but as I look abroad I am impressed with the economy of the prospect. It comes nearer to my powers of assimilation, quiets me with a deep satisfaction; the contrasts are subdued, the processes grade into each other imperceptibly in the land of the lingering twilight.

In this prospect are maples and elms and apple-trees. The maples and elms are of the fields and roadsides. The apple-trees are of human habitations and human labor; they cluster about the buildings, or stand guard at a gate; they are in plantations made by hands. As I see them again, I wonder whether any other plant is so characteristically a home-tree.

So is the apple-tree, even when full grown, within the reach of children. It can be climbed. Little swings are hung from the branches. Its shade is low and familiar. It bestows its fruit liberally to all alike.

– L.H. Bailey, The Apple Tree

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