As we prepare for the regular Taste of Autumn event (17-21 October 2018) our attention focuses on fruit. And if you wander through the “fruitiest” parts of the garden, you’ll see a bright red apple that shines out in the autumnal sun. This is ‘Red Falstaff’.
At Wisley, the apple harvest has been being gathered since the earliest cultivars ripened in the summer. But with around 700 different cultivars growing in the Orchard, the process takes a while!
In the Fruit Demonstration Garden and Trained Tree display (near the Viewing Mount) there is an eye-catching display of bright red apples - ‘Red Falstaff’. We deliberately leave these on the trees as long as possible. ‘Red Falstaff’ is a red sport of a green apple ‘Falstaff’. Raised at the world-renowned fruit research establishment at East Malling in Kent, the parents of this are ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘James Grieve’, both popular and well known apples. It makes for a modern style, contemporary, crisp, juicy and reliable apple tree, with minimal scab.
It’s a heavy cropping, good quality late dessert apple, that keeps well for eating November to January. It’s in pollination group 3 (meaning they will crop better if planted in proximity to other apples that flower at the same or similar time). Which is a reminder, of course, that apple trees are beautiful in spring, too. There really is nothing quite like apple blossom…
If apples are your thing, then coming along to Taste of Autumn at Wisley (or a similar event around the country) will give you a great chance to taste different apples (and other produce) to help you decide which cultivars you might like to grow yourself. For most, there are plenty of options on how large or small a tree might grow, as you can generally have some control over this by careful selection of a rootstock (roots and lower trunk of a tree that your chosen cultivar is grafted onto, that will determine the size of the tree.
This is also the perfect time to order and plant your tree.