-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Saturday, October 29, 2005

the great Apple tree search

So often I find myself embroiled in a hunt for some obscure object. This time it's a variety of heritage apple tree.

Last weekend, I took Mum to the RHS's show gardens at Wisley and it turned out to be their annual "Apple Day". They had tastings of lots of different varieties of apples that they grow - they have over 700 varieties of Apple tree alone in their orchard, and that's only a small part of the garden! Anyway, I am not normally a fan of eating fresh apples, having had one too many bad experiences of floury horrible tasting ones. But, I made an exception at this event as I was curious.

Thank goodness I did as I'd no idea how different each variety would taste. Out of the 30 or so varieties we got to taste, I discovered two that I really love. Of course, neither are commercially available in shops which means I have to grow my own... hence, the great Apple tree search begins.

Now, luckily, we actually have a head start because I discovered when I got home that one of them, Egremont Russet, is the variety we planted at the allotment a few months ago. I picked it at the time because it seemed the most obscure of all the varieties at the gardening centre, having no idea what it tasted like... I'm so glad I like it! (otherwise I would have just used it for cooking & given to the birds).

But, the other variety, my favourite, is far more elusive. It's a cultivar called "Puckrupp Pippin" which looks dreadful both whole and cut up. Here's a picture:

Wisley RHS garden Sat 22nd Oct 2005 010

But looks are deceptive, as it tasted amazingly creamy and I liked it so much that it's sparked this search.

I've managed to find a UK supplier and placed an order for delivery in September 2006. It takes so long because they graft the trees to order. Apparently apple trees planted from seed don't 'come true' to the variety of the original apple the seed came from. The only way to get a copy is to graft a cutting onto the rootstock of another apple tree. They do this in January and then they're ready to be planted out in September.

So, the problem is solved for London for the short term, but I would love to find an Australian supplier so that we could have a tree at Amherst too. So far no luck, but I've emailed a few heritage orchards in Australia so fingers crossed.

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