Au Revoir to Pear, Plum and Damson Blossom?

I’ve been rather worried for the past couple of weeks, as I may have mentioned once or twice, that the forecast of two nights’ hard frost this weekend would put an end to any early blossoms that had already bloomed in the recent spring warmth.

It seems I was right to worry: when I went to bed last night the promised rain had turned to snow, and when I woke up this morning there was an inch or two of snow-cover all over our back garden. It wasn’t your nice, fluffy, dry-ish, easily shaken-off snow, either. Oh, no. This stuff was thick, icy-wet and clinging tenaciously to the branches of the dwarfing trees in our air-pot mini-orchard.

Luckily those particular trees hadn’t blossomed just yet, but I fear for the pear trees at Ordsall Hall, which were covered in pearly white flowers when I was at work on Friday, and for the plum and damson blossom I spotted on Plot #79 – the first time in three seasons that any of the three Prunus trees there had put out any blossom at all – when I was there yesterday. I rather suspect that if the same weather conditions applied overnight in Salford and down the road at the plot, then the blossoms will have frozen solid and died.

The best we can hope for now is that the trees have reserved a few buds, that those will be encouraged to open as the temperature rises again from Monday, and that there are no more late shocks. (Dear Scandinavia, please hang on to your Arctic air-masses until next year. Thank you.) Otherwise there will be no pollination, no fruit-set and no harvest this year.

Here are a few pics of the blossom that I snapped at the plot yesterday and at Ordsall Hall on Friday. Hopefully they’re not going to be just a reminder of what we’re likely to have lost and it will be a case of ‘au revoir’ rather than ‘goodbye until next year’.

Damson blossom on Plot #79
Plum blossom on Plot #79
Blossom on the smaller of the two ‘Black Worcester’ pear trees at Ordsall Hall
Blossom on the larger of the two ‘Black Worcester’ pear trees at Ordsall Hall

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