Saturday, March 05, 2011

Prunus Mume - Japanese Apricot

9" x 12"
Arches 140# CP

The morning breaks with fog and grey, and much needed rain is in the forecast. Here in Oxford, my forsythia are 'just' about to open -- but two hours south of me, the Japanese apricots that provide the fruit of a luscious jam -- are in bright, full bloom.

The smallish, delicate trees are originally from China, and their wonderful white to pink flowers open before the leaves appear. We typically see their flowers in February and Marsh and their fruit in April. To me, they taste just like the large, commerical apricots we see in grocery stores -- EXCEPT these are not as mealy tasting and much jucier --- though less than half the size of traditional apricot fruits.

Folks use these apricots in so many ways - from jams and jellies, to liquors, juices, picked and more.

According to Wikipedia: "The Chinese see its blossoms as both as a symbol of winter as well as a harbinger of spring. It is precisely for this reason that the blossoms are so beloved, as they bloom most vibrantly amidst the winter snow, after most other plants have shed their leaves, and before other flowers appear. They are seen as an example of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity, and more recently have also been used as a metaphor to symbolize revolutionary struggle since the turn of the 20th Century."

I have two of these beauties on my property. One year, I collected over 50 seedlings from campus and planted them here in Oxford. It must have been an unusually harsh winter that year because the deer ate all but ONE of those seedlings. I've protected the single tree that has survived and it is now almost 5 feet tall. I probably won't see any fruit from my trees for another couple of years - so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that our cold nights (cold enough to freeze the kitties water bowl) will spare the fruits on campus.

Hope your weekend is restful!


freebird said...

Very pretty picture. Beautiful really. I planted an apricot tree and the rabbits promptly ate it. They also ate my fig tree and a fence didn't protect it because the ground squirrels ate the roots! I remember my dad's apricot tree and the fruit he got from it was soooo much better than what you get at the store.

Joan said...

Bravo!!! I love this one. The softness of the blossoms in the back make the ones in focus stand out even more. You captured the light in this perfectly!!!

Have a great weekend!

Joan Sicignano Artist said...

Lin, yes BRAVO, I agree with Joan, absolutely beautiful.

Lorraine said...

My grandfather had apricot trees in his orchard in VT and I remember as a small child picking up the fallen fruit. I love apricots but oh my Lin, this painting is absolutely one of your best. The detail on the flowers is incredibly well done -- the way you've captured the folding back of the petals through your excellent shading and shaping -- oh my. I keep looking at it over and over. What a delight to the eyes and this is definitely one you should put on Zazzle. BRAVO dear friend.

Lorraine said...

I got so excited about the flowers that I forgot to comment on your underpainting. The colors of green and blue are perfect. Oh what a beautiful beautiful painting.

Teri C said...

Oh my goodness Lin, this is just simply gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!