24 October - 25 October 2020
Some Interesting Apples with William Arnold
Wild & Seedling Pomological Exhibition
Saturday and Sunday 24-25 October 2020
Some Interesting Apples will be celebrating the autumn apple harvest with a weird, wonderful and not so wonderful selection of hedgerow and wayside specimens alongside the heritage varieties grown at Kestle Barton.
The public will be invited to participate in ‘consumer research’ assessing the apples based on: flavour, freshness, appearance and perceived versatility.
All of the apples will be photographed at relative scale as part of William Arnold’s ongoing apple typology – for more information click here.
The results of this research will lead to the preservation of the best and worst of the apple varieties via grafting on to either the Good Apple or Bad Apple tree, two sylvan absurdities planted by artists William Arnold and James Fergusson in the orchard at Kestle Barton.
An apple grown from the seed of an open pollinated fruit will, while inheriting the characteristics of its parents, always create a variety distinct from either. As a reasonably guilt-free discard from a car or train window these feral seedlings of Malus domestica proliferate, perhaps catching our eye in a flash of May blossom or viewed laden with fruit by a stretch of railway track on a drab October schedule delay.
There is an incredible gene pool of apples adapting to local conditions in hedgerows across the country. A lot of these will be of limited utility, and many of course will be seedlings of Golden Delicious or Gala etc, but some will have desirable characteristics, in terms of flavour and resistance to diseases and the vagaries of climate.
In the context of the climate emergency and the ‘global weirding’ of weather systems this ability to adapt and thrive in a range of situations makes Malus an important species within potential robust novel ecosystems and as ongoing food resource.
To propagate known varieties of apple, a new tree must be grafted from existing material of the variety on to a rootstock with known characteristics, a long-term commitment to preservation generally considered worthwhile only where the variety has strong commercial prospects.
In 1990 Common Ground instigated the first Apple Day to promote the ‘local distinctiveness’ and value to landscape histories of the wealth of varieties largely ignored in favour of a few super-market friendly strains.
Building on the now well-known apple day theme Some Interesting Apples will shift the focus toward those wild seedlings to which comparatively little attention has been given and their potential for future usefulness.
Wild and seedling apples wanted for pomological display at Kestle Barton!
Calling all foragers and naturalists in west Cornwall, Some Interesting Apples is looking for examples of wild and seedling apples to form a pomological display at Kestle Barton on October 24th and 25th. If you have spotted a fine feral apple tree by the side of the road, or have raised you own successful tree from seed, we would like to know about it, even if you think the apples taste awful!
Importantly, we are interested only in wild, feral or deliberately grown seedling apples. If you are able to gather several examples of the fruit, record the location grid reference and are keen to contribute, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Some of these apples will be selected for propagation by grafting and you will get to name your own variety!
Every apple grown from a seed is a new variety. Unique. You may already know that every apple you ever see for sale is a genetic clone of every other apple of that type that ever has been. A lot of people don’t!
That’s all well and good and means we have reliable, nice long-storing fruit for commerce. It’s a bit boring though and more importantly when viruses and bacterial diseases build up in the population, being all the same, all the trees fail, resulting in widespread use of chemical controls. Out in the hedgerows and roadsides there is a genetic treasure trove of seedling apples… good, bad, ugly, indifferent and some real gems.
The extreme heterozygosity of apples – they’re all so radically different when grown from seed – means the odds are good that some will thrive in the climatic conditions in which they find themselves. Apples are diverse and great for biodiversity. With human induced climate weirding and the demise of so many of our prestige landscape trees – ash, elm etc we should get planting and keep chucking those cold stored Gala cores in the hedge.