Apples are in season at last. We have three apple trees in the garden – all very small really but each with their own personality.
This is Red Falstaff. I bought this tree eight years ago when we lived in our old house. I knew then that we were likely to move in the near future so kept it in a pot for its first few years. It was never happy although it did produce a few sad apples each year. When we moved to this house I planted it in the ground and asked its forgiveness for the three years of neglect, but still it looked pretty miserable. So last year, in a fit of desperation, I moved it from the edge of the garden to the middle of the lawn. And what a happy tree it is now. This year it is a glorious effusion of red, with about 15 small but magnificent bright red apples. It deserves such a show.
And this is Sunset. We chose this tree with great care, after a visiting an ‘apple day’ at our local allotment site. We tried all the apples on display until we agreed on the one that we all liked. So when we had the space to plant another tree we ordered a Sunset. But, like the Red Falstaff, it hasn’t yet got going really. The apples taste nice enough but they are small and not very plentiful. I live in hope. Or maybe I should move it too and see if it is happier in the middle of the lawn – turn the whole garden into an orchard in fact.
But the winner in our garden is Howgate Wonder. So well named. We planted this at the same time as Sunset, believing that we needed a cooking apple as well as an eater. It was described in the catalogue as a ‘very large cooker’ and a ‘pleasant eating apple too’. ‘Very large’ hardly seems to describe it – its apples are the size of grapefruits and it is prolific. In its first year it produced seven enormous apples, four the next and an incredible ten enormous fruits last year.
We reckoned it would need a rest this year and it has only managed three, but again they are enormous. The catalogue was right, it does make a lovely eating apple except the fruits are really too big and almost too beautiful to cook. We manage though. The first apple of the year went into an assistant gardener’s birthday cake: apple gingerbread. The other two will probably be used for the remaining October birthdays.