Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Wiltshire's Apples

I'm trying to decide which apple is the most local to Chippenham - it could be 'Celt' from Melksham or 'Beauty of Bath', which hails from Batheaston. Click on the pic to enlarge if needed.

After last week's post about Wiltshire's Apple Days, I decided to go to Marlborough's on Sunday. This was on the strength they were having some Wiltshire varieties available for tasting and I'd been wanting to find out more about them for ages.

Marlborough has a community orchard project and they've decided the town's 'Diamond Jubilee Plantation' will "celebrate 60 years of HM The Queen's reign, and restore historic links between common land and local foods for local people".

Part of this project has been to find as many apple varieties as possible which hail from Wiltshire. I knew of 3 before Sunday; that knowledge has now expanded to 10 and I've also tasted 7 of them :)

Some of Wiltshire's apple varieties. Big picture - 'Mary Barnett' . Top right downwards and clockwise: 'Dredge's Fame', 'Chorister Boy', 'Roundway Magnum Bonum',  'Burn's Seedling, and 'Bedwyn Beauty'

'Roundway Magnum Bonum' came top in my taste test on the day, but I'm sure some of the others would have been strong contenders at other times. One was an early apple already past its best (in my view, though it was proving popular with others) and two of the dual purpose cooker/dessert apples were definitely on the cooking apple end of the taste scale.

I'd like to plant a an apple tree which has come from as close as possible to where I live. I've quickly put together the Google Map shown at the top of this post from Sunday's information to help me find out which one it should be. The locations are quite well spread out throughout the county, though the map needs a bit of tweaking as I need to do some research on where a couple of the places actually are. So far it looks like I have a choice between two - 'Beauty of Bath' (not from Wiltshire but very close by) and 'Celt'. I've haven't tasted either of these yet - and the rarity of 'Celt' means it might be a while before I'll be able to do so -  that might be the clincher.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, full of local knowledge and people enthusing about all things apple and the town's new orchard. For instance, I love that the planting of 'Chorister Boy' has been sponsored by the local choir. The launch party is next Sunday, on Apple Day itself and looks like it'll be a real celebration.

I'll leave you with a quote from the invitation leaflet to Sunday's launch:

"The Diamond Jubilee Plantation will become a living larder and beauty spot, an outdoor classroom and convivial meeting place - for holding blossom picnics; beekeeping classes; teaching children to build bug hotels and bird boxes; planting, pruning and grafting workshops; harvesting parties; storytelling and wassailing."

 Marlborough "town in an orchard"

Perhaps everyone's town should be in an orchard too?

Update: I've just realised this is my 1,500th post :) My 5th blog birthday is at the start of next month too - leave me a Comment on how we should celebrate!

16 comments:

  1. How exciting VP - you're obviously having fun researching and tasting. 'The Apple Source Book' contains a gazeteer of varieties listed by county. I've just had a look at my copy and wondered whether 'Corsley Pippin' is on your list of possibles? As for your 5th blog anniversary, I'm sure that you will come up with something memorable to mark the occasion :)

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  2. I love apples!
    The more local, the better!
    Have a great day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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  3. Hi Anna - yes, Corsley Pippin is on the map :) It's one of the ones which wasn't available for tasting, hence no picture. It's a bit further away than my 2 contenders though.

    I have Joan Morgan's Apple Book which is fab. I thought it overlapped too much with The Apple Source Book, so I haven't bought it. The authors were very much involved with Common Ground and Apple Days. The 'England in Particular' part of Common Ground's website also has county by county apple listings :)

    Lea - the 2 I'm looking at originate less than 10 miles away which is great!

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  4. PS in some ways creating my own Google Map is an apt way of celebrating my 1,500 post. This blog was started out of my curiosity to see how blogging worked. That continued when I did my Open Garden when I tried lots of new things out. It's always good to add another :)

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  5. congrats on your 1500th post!
    Lovely idea about the apple trees.
    Re your 5th anniversary - maybe choose your top 5 favourite posts - or ask people to vote for theirs?
    Or a time line of what's happened blog-wise (ooch!) over that time? or...I'm sure you have some ideas tucked up your sleeve!

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  6. Hi Lu - thanks for the ideas :)

    I was wondering if you'd find this info useful for Corsham's Community Orchard?

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  7. How are you VP girl !and congrats on the milestone post girl!!
    .... so what do you think of this Dr. Who ??? LOL
    Joy

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  8. Joy - great to see you and thanks :)

    Would you believe we've not watched Dr Who yet? We've had a massive backlog of post-holiday TV to get through. Will be watching it soooooon.

    Are you ready for Halloween yet? (I remembered that's your favourite time)

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  9. 1,500 posts, VP... that's dedication here :-) Absolutely agree about trying something new. A while back I was playing with maps too. I think I got quite far with them but as usual I was a bit ambitious in my idea and as yet I have never used them - my posts have been on the lean side for a while. I’m thinking I’ll never catch you up – a huge congrats to you :-D

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  10. Thanks Shirl - you do so much with your posts, especially your wildlife videos. I feel it's me who's catching you up :)

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  11. I wish we had ANY apples - my chippenham variety struck out completely this year!

    Now quinces - that's a different story...

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  12. Mark - it's a bad year for apples on the whole and your trees are only a couple of years old. I'd have been worried if you'd got a good crop! Looking forward to sampling this year's quince jelly from you very soon :)

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  13. Glad to read that Corsley Pippin did not escape your radar. I should have have clicked on your impressive map or have put my specs on in the first instance. I managed to insert a Google map on our garden club website but just linking to the one post code. I was chuffed with accomplishing that.

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  14. Anna - I'll be developing the map to include the info I found out at the Apple Day, plus other bits and bobs I've found and photos of each apple. I hope it'll be a nice little resource to be made fully public at some point.

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  15. yes indeed - I have already passed it on to Tricia!

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  16. Hi Lu - that's great :) I also met a local nurseryman who can supply the trees if Tricia needs to source them. Haven't bought any trees from him, but he was very knowledgeable and helpful last Sunday. The nursery is supplying Marlborough's trees, BTW.

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