I've been following a debate, maybe a discussion, in the Four Seasons Garden Club about the merits of P. mume as a garden plant.One side contends that the plant, while pleasant in bloom, contributes nothing the rest of the year and has an ungainly growth habit to boot. The other side, and I find myself on the other side of this issue, feels that The fragrance is so wonderful and the timing, mid-winter to early-spring, of the flowers is enough to forgive it any shortcomings. I'm thinking that, as in most such disputes, there is no answer; we all get to decide for ourselves. The discussion reinforces for me the concept that gardens are personal, they are relationships between a gardener and a space.
I must admit that an unpruned flowering apricot is inevitably an awkward, twiggy disaster. Constant attentive pruning makes them much less objectionable, even attractive. Unlike the ubiquitous flowering cherrys, P. mume typically is a long lived small tree; older specimens are quite attractive.