After many years of benign neglect with intermittent years of savage pruning by people who claimed to know what they were doing, I decided it was high time to give the apple tree in my garden some proper care. But first I needed to identify the variety of apple tree.
I tracked down fruit specialist, Jim Arbury during the Wisley, RHS Garden annual Apple Fair. Within ten paces of his stall, he’d already named the apple I was holding: King of the Pippins he pronounced. Impressive! I’d taken along photos of the tree which confirmed everything he said about it’s growing habit.
He also told me what I needed to do about some serious pruning but not all at once, it was going to take time.
I love the apples from this tree, as Jim said they are good for eating and cooking. The yield can be prolific on many long thin, upward growing spurs but apparently this is not ideal. Fewer spurs and lower ones at that would mean I get fruit I can reach and even better fruit in time.
I found the right man for the pruning job at the Blackmoor Estate where they’ve been growing fruit trees for almost a century. Peter Barwick is the current Orchard Manager and thankfully freelances his skills out and about when he has the time. With just secateurs, loppers and a saw he finished the job in a couple of hours. Plus I get to keep the wood and clippings for the wood burner I haven’t got yet. With a bit more restorative pruning the following year, it should be in better shape for fruiting.
I haven’t written a blog post for over a year. I like to think of that time lapse as four seasons gone by which is a reminder of just how long it took nature to produce the contents of my pot of homemade, home grown apple & beetroot chutney, and about as long it took me to write this blog post. But in the case of the chutney, by the date on the label, that was back in 2012, so accounting for maturity that’s eight seasons gone by, or is that false accounting?