Friday, November 23, 2012

oh the joy.....

A little while ago I wrote a blog about my search for a Bramley apple tree. There are not many things I miss having lived here since February but one of the most surprising was the Bramley apple. It is so easy to take for granted being able to pop into the supermarket and buy some apple to bake or make apple pie. Anyway, I was all set to try and propagate one with help from my British friends until I had a wonderful message from my lovely school friends in Jersey with whom I had met at the beginning of November. The message told me that together they had organised for 2 Bramley apple trees to be delivered here to me in France so that I could plant and enjoy them in years to come.

On Wednesday morning about 8am the phone rang and a delivery company said would we be in after lunch time as they had a package for us. What excitement! Just after midday the van arrived and a box was left. Joe unpacked them but not unwrapped the roots because it was too late in the day to begin the planting process because the root balls needed to be soaked in a bucket of water for at least 2 hours.
The next morning Joe put the roots straight into a bucket of water as per the instructions included.
During the afternoon we clambered up the wobbly steps to the top of the garden to begin the planting process. Joe had been into Cluny and purchased 2 long stakes as the trees have to be supported as they begin to transform into fruiting mode.

After the stakes had been hammered into the ground Joe began the digging of the two holes - I did help but I was behind the camera most of the time!!

Soon the root balls were in place and tied into the stakes then the soil was replaced and added to by a bit of garden compost and bark.
Protected from rabbits and deer we are hopeful that we shall eventually have some wonderful Bramley apples with which to make chutney, puree, apple sauce, bake apples and Joe's all time favourite apple pie!
In all my excitement, I decided to find out more about the Bramley apple.
Bramley's  Seedling apples are so well known that I was surprised to discover that they have only been around since 1809 when a pip was planted in a garden in Nottinghamshire. It was a girl called Mary Anne Brailsford who planted the pip and later on the house with its garden containing the apple tree was sold to a Matthew Bramley who allowed cuttings to be taken from it. The original tree still exists and the BBC have made a video of it - you can see it here - video made by the BBC 

It is so exciting to know that every Bramley apple tree traces its origin back to that one tree.

The new variety was quickly recognised as an outstanding cooking apple and by the end of the Victorian era it was widely planted in England and Northern Ireland, becoming synonymous with English apple cookery. However for the next century it remained little-known outside the UK, since European and North American growers had long preferred dual-purpose apples which could be both eaten fresh and cooked. Latterly with a resurgence in interest in apple cookery it has become well-known amongst North American apple enthusiasts and, 200 years after its birth, this remarkable "cooker" is increasingly recognised as one of the world's great apples varieties.
However it is not well known in South Burgundy but I'm hoping that this will change!!!
Thank you Anne, Caroline and Lesley for my unique 60th birthday gift!
And to add to the special occasion the sunset over the hills opposite the garden was exquisite.

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