Life is full of surprises. When retired chemist Dr Alan Warwick, now 87, sowed a few seeds from the crab apples on the Malus × purpurea 'Aldenhamensis' that he’d planted in his Yorkshire garden in 1981 he never thought that one of his seedlings would be launched with a great fanfare at the Chelsea Flower Show.
“One year,” he said, “I noticed it was producing little half-inch apples so I took seeds from them and germinated them. Malus is notoriously unpredictable, but one of these turned out to be a real chance seedling, with a weeping habit – not upright like the mother plant. The weeping branches literally grew until they touched the floor.”
‘Crimson Cascade’ develops its striking weeping habit at an early age and matures to an elegance rarely seen in crab apples. Maturing at about 4.5m (15ft) , and fitting well into smaller gardens, in May the flowers and foliage open together to create a lovely harmonious display.
The foliage is rich purple, maturing to bronze-green in summer. The flowers are deep crimson and are followed by reddish-purple crab apples later in summer.
‘Crimson Cascade’ makes an ideal focal point and with three different colourful features - foliage, flowers and fruits – brings colour and interest to the garden over a long period. It was entered into the 2017 Chelsea Plant of The Year competition, making number 11 on the shortlist.
Malus × purpurea ‘Crimson Cascade’ is available at Hillier garden centres.