Nature will often take its own course

Three varieties of grapes growing together. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Three varieties of grapes growing together. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Familiar plants behaving out of character are quickly spotted by enthusiasts, and this is something I love to hear about.

A change from the norm may be the result of any number of things – poor maintenance, the growing environment, weather, a pest, disease or virus, or genetic malfunction.

Most common is the call to say that something is flowering way out of season, with the query: “Will this affect next year’s performance?” The answer is no, not necessarily.

Last year our Ceanothus Concha was covered in bloom when January arrived. It had obviously forgotten about the dazzling summer display it put on a mere six months earlier.

I decided not to prune, enjoy the display, go with the flow and leave it to nature. And the annual bloom-fest arrived dead on schedule.

So when Serena and Alan called recently to say their apple tree had fresh blossom, I confirmed it was simply responding to the mild weather.

You should see our cold greenhouse peach. It’s supposed to bloom in February, but 20-plus pink flowers have just appeared. Who am I to intervene?