Blossom time will be here again after this long, cold and wet winter. Pruning is all behind as the trees are surrounded by mud, however it will be done in the next few weeks and the sun is shining today.
Over the winter I have been challenged with constructive suggestions by several visitors to this site. My observations are confined to a very local area (The Isle of Wight in the very south of the United Kingdom) with a few things added from received wisdom in books I have read etc. I have learnt that season and flowering are not necessarily the same in other countries. In my experience the apples in our garden always flower in the same order, Tydeman's Early Worcester first and Crawley Beauty last but I have noticed that in years like 2012 the early apples flowered as normal and we then had a cold spell and the last apple, Crawley Beauty flowered long after all the others had gone. Usually there are still a few flowers on the Bramley at the same time and I had assumed this was what pollinated it. This year no other blossom at all and we still had a reasonable crop. Is it self fertile? not mentioned in any reference or book. This long delay in flowering times makes nonsense of stating that an apple flowers so many days after another? I used the information from Bultitude for this as I could not possibly know the flowering time for every apple. Help please from those more experienced than me. Do I go back to pollination groups? or what?
Help also please with 'season' when the apple is ready to use. As already stated storage conditions affect this greatly but is this information useful and how can I make it better? I can't really cope with world wide, this is a very local site, but how can I help?
Also the shape chart, this has not seemed totally satisfactory to me. On reflection and after discussion with another visitor to the site I am going to change it, fewer shapes and a few examples come to mind, but any ideas and thoughts welcome please.
Apologies for no October news, we have been on holiday in Devon and Dorset and we hardly saw an apple. All the cider orchards were bare and picked, as is the Island cider orchard at Watergate Road. Usually when walking in the autumn we pass gardens with apples on trees but not this year.
The apple season has started in earnest and already there are queries to answer and places to visit. Some are easy, like the apple that was sold as Tydeman’s Late Orange and turned out to be Tydeman’s Early Worcester. We have both in our garden and it was a simple matter of walking up the path and checking.
Several people have told me they don't know where to find the paintings/drawings on the website. Scroll down below the information about each apple, first the photo, then the writing, then the drawing appears underneath. You can then see what the apple looks like when cut in half which is a real help with identification.
This website started on the Isle of Wight and reached the world wide web with the help of West Wight Landscape Partnership It is the sort of website I would have found useful when visiting a garden or in the tent at Apple Weekend, on being shown an apple and asked ‘What variety is it?’
I soon found that apple identification is not an exact science and to be truly accurate a lot of information is needed i.e. flowering time, leaves, dates when planted, several apples in a sample etc. and checking with a named tree.
However I have seen, drawn, painted, cut up and tasted every apple on this website. The descriptions and comments are all my own work, the flowering times and season come from Bultitude (see references) in the case of some apples. Every apple on this website has been checked against a named tree at RHS Wisley or Deacon's Nursery, except when noted in the text.
How did I choose the apples on this website? They chose themselves by being on display at the Isle of Wight Apple Weekend (2000 - 2007), or were found in Isle of Wight gardens, orchards or in a few cases in IOW supermarkets and shops. Perhaps you grow these apples in your garden and would like to add your comments - if so please contact us.
Where did the pictures come from? The paintings and pencil drawings have been made over the last twelve years, as a personal record. In the beginning I only meant to record a few of the most common apples, but as I found out more, and more apples turned up to be recorded the collection grew. The painted records became bulky and unwieldy as time went on and I put the information into the computer but sometimes a drawing tells you more than a photo, so both are on this website.
The apple groups follow the system in Bultitude (1989) and Sanders (1988) both now out of print and The New Book of Apples by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards. (see references)
Good luck with identifying the apples in your garden and enjoy finding out about the apples you grow and about Isle of Wight apples and people.