All about apples
15 September 2010
If you want to know anything about apples, Chris Smith at Pennard Plants has the answers at the London Autumn Harvest Show. The team from Pennards will be demonstrating apple pruning and training, as well as having apples to taste. RHS Online finds out what he has planned.
RHS: You regularly exhibit at big RHS shows - do you find the pressure is any less for a smaller show like this?
Chris Smith: We’ve exhibited countless times since 2001. We did our first Chelsea in 2003 and have regularly exhibited at Cardiff, Gardeners’ World Live, Hampton Court and Tatton Park as well as London and Wisley. We put as much effort into the smaller shows as the larger ones, although the pressure is not as great due to the more relaxed atmosphere at the smaller ones.
RHS: You've got an apple folklore theme for your display this year, what's this all about?
CS: Much folklore surrounds the humble apple, from ‘wassailing’ - the ceremony practised during the winter months to bless the apple trees to produce a good crop - to apples as remedies for all manner of ailments.
We will be trying to demonstrate some of these old customs and also let the public taste various varieties of apples including those used to make cider. We'll also have apple pruning and training demonstrations.
RHS: Autumn is a perfect time to be planting, have you any seasonal tips?
CS: Autumn (probably from November on) is the perfect time to plant bare-root trees of apples, pears, plums etc. The ground should be prepared with plenty of organic matter (not manure) and a handful of bone meal. Plant the tree at the same level as in the nursery and stake it.
Smaller varieties on dwarfing rootstocks are ideal for small gardens or patio pots, choose M9 rootstock but remember these do not produce strong anchoring roots and will need staking for most of their life