Growing heritage apples can become addictive for the urban farmer because there are so many choices that are perfectly suited for most gardens allowing you to have pleasure from the blossom in spring to enjoying fruit from mid-summer to autumn. Most of the apples I have only grow 1.5m -2m and are quite happy to be under planted.
“Behold the remarkable, beauteous apple tree. Soft with spring bloom, it charms and delights; heavy with autumn fruit, it promises fine food and drink” Leaves by Alice Vitale
Then in winter you can have more fun learning the interesting history of apples and can lead to other passions such as the art of espaliers and cordons! You won’t be alone in this passion – there really was a Johnny Appleseed who’s life mission was growing and giving away apple trees. I would love to have my business card state my occupation as Pomologist.
Apple Malus pumila ‘Beauty Of Bath’ (1864) Really happy with this old variety as it is turning into a heavy cropper. The flesh is creamy white with a fairly sharp but sweet flavour and quite aromatic but it has a habit of dropping its fruit when ripe so you need to have a nice bed of straw for these lovelies to land on. Needs pollinating so get out your paint brush or call the bees!
Apple Malus pumila ‘Keswick Codlin’ (1793) Another heavy cropper, mostly self pollinating but it loves a buddy and in my garden it is the pollinator for ‘Beauty of Bath’ and vice versa. The first Keswick Codlin tree was found at the end of the 18th century, growing in a rubbish heap at Gleaston Castle at the southern tip of the English Lake District. It was subsequently popularised by a Keswick nurseryman and became one of the very popular varieties as it is perfect for making purees and a really clear apple jelly that my Dad loves with a bit of cheese. Victorian pomologist Robert Hogg praised it as “One of the earliest and most valuable of our culinary apples”.
You can read lots of other exciting apple stories in his book –just download here or I can email you a copy. I am growing these heritage varieties Cox’s Orange Pippin, Blenheim Orange, Golden Delicious, Pomme De Neige and our own famous Granny Smith all around the garden as well and you can read their stories in Mr. Hogg’s fine book.