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Countdown to apple day

By Maria Precedo, garden volunteer

The countdown to apple day has begun!

The potting shed has been partly converted into an apple store, and harvesting is under way. This task has to be conducted a bit sooner than is ideal because, while “the early bird catches the worm”, it also scrumps apples. The parakeets are the main culprits, but we also have to contend with the munching of squirrels and humans tempted by the forbidden fruit. So it’s a race to gather fruit to supply our apple day event.

It’s not really surprising the apples receive all this attention. There are over 140 apple trees in the walled garden, of numerous varieties – and many look scrumptious. These cultivars
reflect the garden’s botanical link with Bishop Compton, was sent plants from North America in the late 17th, early 18th century. There are varieties in the orchard that were recommended by his gardener George London, as well as those taken to America from England and Europe, and then American varieties sent back to England from the 1800s.

For an apple enthusiast like myself, the chance to spend an afternoon picking apples in late summer sunshine was a delight. It gave the opportunity to get a bit more familiar with heritage cultivars, and observe some of their distinctive characteristics: the long drawn-out shape of Gilliflower in comparison with the flattened outline of Court Pendu Plat; the open ‘eye’ of Queen Caroline; the net-like russeting of Scarlet Crofton; the ‘scarf skin’ of Newton Pippin. Bizarrely, a couple of the trees even had a few blossoms.

Apple day

Our celebration of all things appley takes place on Sunday 6 October, 11:00 – 15:00. Join us to learn more about the orchard and have the chance to taste history!