- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's a sure sign of spring when the Japanese apricot tree north of Wickson Hall at the University of California, Davis, blooms.
Butterfly expert Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis, noticed it flowering on Jan. 21. "First fruit tree of 2013 blooming!" he said.
This tree, Prunus mume Dawn, is quite special. It was planted on March 7, 1963 to honor the work of internationally known pomologist Warren Porter Tufts (1890-1968), emeritus professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Pomology. Tufts served UC Davis pomology from 1915 to 1958. Then he came out of retirement to chair the Department of Landscape Management for two years.
He died April 18, 1968. His biographers pointed out that he "played an important role in the development of the principles of pruning and training fruit trees, which became known as the UC method."
Just one of his many contributions...
As for the Japanese apricot tree, it's one of spring's early bloomers. Its ruffled double pink blossoms are quite fragrant, a fact not missed by the honey bees.
Today the honey bees were foraging all over the blossoms. Against a stunningly blue sky, they targeted the delicate pink blossoms and pressed against the thick reddish buds that will unfold soon.
Just as the bees did every spring when Tufts worked his apricot orchard in nearby Winters...