Apples on the way...

06 December, 2015

One of the things I've gone a little bit mad for in the garden is apple trees. I currently have 36 espaliered apple trees in the orchard, plus 13 step over apples in the backyard, plus eight in wicking buckets, and five apples (one eating and four cider) planted in the front yard.

Which makes a grand total of 62 apple trees on my suburban 750 square meter block.

Now before you think I would be drowning in apples, these have been planted anywhere from 2009 to 2014, so many of them are barely out of toddlerhood and therefor not exactly producing mountains of fruit.

But every year another tree joins the fruiting list, and I get very excited.

This is what I am hoping will come to fruition in 2016.

In the orchard, one of the cordon espaliered apples to set fruit is the White Transparent, which should produce a ripe apple sometime in late January or early February.

This apple set 3 fruits, and from previous experience I should leave them for a bit to ensure they are not under ripe.

The next likely to ripen, and also in the orchard, is the Devonshire Quarrendon.

This has never fruited before, and this year set just one apple to taunt me. I hope I get the picking timing right. Expect further reports around Feb to March.

A little further along the next row are the side by side St Edmund's Pippin and Ribston Pippin.

There are four SEP's and two RPs. I've eaten the former before (mid March), but the latter is a new one for this year.

Still in the orchard, slightly further along and also new for 2016 is the Red Cleopatra.

This apple has set two fruit which I will be very excited to try. I am expecting these around April.

Sadly that is all of the cordon espaliers that set fruit. Most of the others produced flowers and set baby fruit, but many of these dropped early in the very hot weather of October. I hope this won't be a recurring event.

Luckily, things are looking up with the KNNN espaliered apples. The Sundowner apple is absolutely loaded.

Previously I had thinned the fruit to try and stop a biannual production, but it didn't work. So this year I'm going to let the plant make its own decisions and leave all the fruit and see what I get.

Also in the same space, despite the same conditions and identical (to my eyes) flowering levels, both the Grand Duke Constantine and Fuji have each set one apple.

Ah well, one is better than nothing.

In the backyard the stepover apples are looking ok, with a few fruits set.

I can see two Pink Lady stepover apples.

And one Woodbridge Winter Pippin stepover apple.

Now these were moved recently when I adapted the backyard from a mixed ornamental/edible planting to housing the wicking beds, so I'm pleased they set and didn't drop even these few fruits.

But in very exciting news, the only stepover apple which I didn't move is absolutely loaded with fruit. I actually have not grown this one as a standard stepover apple (i.e. espaliered over a low wire, usually as a border plant), but have let it grow naturally into a little tree as an experiment. It is around three years old and is now not quite two meters tall.

This is just one loaded branch. It all up has 23 apples on it, which for a first fruiting is pretty impressive. I'm sure I'll need to give these young branches some much needed support while the apples grow, so I get each and every one of those apples.

I've not yet eaten Woodbridge Winter Pippin, but I'm very much looking forward to it.

Around in the front yard there aren't many fruit trees, but a few that have fruit.

The Huonville Crab has set one tiny apple, which is nice as its such an ornamental, while still tasty apple.

The fruit of these are small, being a cross between a crab and an eating apple, but it has a gorgeous red flesh.

The last of the apples, and another first fruit, is one of the cider apples. The Dabinette has set quite a few fruit, which I'm pretty sure some will drop, but I'm hopeful for a proper cider apple or two for next years' cider batch.

Not that an apple or two will really make a difference to the resulting cider, but it will make me feel like we've done more of a 'proper' job.

So that's the apple round up. Hopefully I'll be able to report back in 2016 with the eating experience.


  1. Wow - I had no idea you had that many apple trees - truly marvelous! Apples are a favourite fruit around here & we just planted (only!) 3 trees last year. Pink Ladies were at the top of the list, but unfortunately, they were rated as one zone warmer than our area. I'm thinking that I may give them a try one day anyhow & espalier one on a warm west facing wall - with the ever changing climate, you never know.

    1. Cheers, it surprises me too sometimes :)
      As you say, one day a pink lady will work in your area. Probably at the same time as I canno longer grow apples as they wouldn't get enough chilling hours. Ah well.

  2. whata wonderful variety to grow - and then eat and cook and drink! it's fascinating to read just what can be done with a suburban space.

    1. Cheers e. Most of they just get eaten fresh :)