When I was a small child I was mildly obsessed by my father’s ancient collection of old 78 rpm gramophone records which, if I was very lucky he would play some of them for me on a slightly more modern piece of furniture called a “radiogram” that could take these wonderful old recordings from the 1920s and 30s if he changed the record-player’s stylus from the default one made from an industrial diamond to an old-fashioned metal needle. They were mostly old dance band songs with exotic sounding singers with pre-historic accents and one of them, which comes back into my mind for the first time in years, was a song called “You’ll be mine in apple blossom time.”
The memory returned whilst I was photographing my radiantly beautiful apple blossom here in my small town garden in Lewes, UK and I was inspired to try and find the record on YouTube. Yes, amazingly, it was there and you can hear it too if you scroll down to the bottom of this page. Even though the lyricist thought apple blossom time is in June and even though the recording is decidedly low-tech, it has all the poignancy, for me anyway, that Noel Coward admired in “cheap music.”
I planted my two apple trees last year, one a dwarf eating apple and the other an espalier Bramley cooking apple, but it is only this year, by the look of the blossom, that I will get the first fruits.
Even if I am to be forever apple-free, it will have been worth the planting just for this glorious display.
It was great too that, this year, the apple has synchronised with the cherry blossom – the two most beautiful, in my opinion. My little cherry tree is three years old now and has never looked so laden in flowers and the perfume, standing out there this morning is intoxicating. Last night, when the windows were closed, the bee in this photograph was left stranded in the house and, this morning it looked pretty pathetic crawling around on the study floor. I wondered if I could save it by putting it on the cherry blossom and, rather satisfyingly, he went straight to work on the nectar, feasting there or 15 or 20 minutes before flying off looking fully recovered.
It was the healing power of blossom that works on my soul too. No wonder those lovers of long ago sang of meeting in apple blossom time. I am sad though if they were from round here and waited until June – it will all be over by the end of April but that, I guess, wouldn’t have fitted the rhyming pattern. Anyway, here is that old song in its 1931 recording: