Dessert ap­ples

Amateur Gardening - - A Gardener’s Miscellany -

Ap­ples are the most pop­u­lar fruit in the world, and they are ei­ther grown or traded on ev­ery con­ti­nent. Dessert ap­ples – the kind you can eat straight from the tree, un­like ‘cooking ap­ples’ – are the main­stay of many a Bri­tish gar­den, and right now they are be­ing har­vested and stored (and eaten) in ev­ery county. There are also some in­ter­est­ing sto­ries sur­round­ing them – let’s look at a few.

■ Ap­ples are odd. Each ap­ple seed, or ‘pip’, pro­duces off­spring that is a dis­tinct in­di­vid­ual, quite un­like its par­ents. If you grew 100 ap­ple trees from the pips of the same tree, the new ap­ple trees would all be dif­fer­ent. With­out graft­ing – in­vented by the Chi­nese more than 3,000 years ago – your sweet and juicy ‘Gala’ or ‘Cox’s’ would sim­ply not ex­ist.

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