Bare root plants can be planted in autumn and early winter. Avoid frosty weather and frozen or sodden ground, there are plenty of choices but I will leave that to the experts and a good gardening book for advice on planting. But did you know:
1. Botanically speaking, apples are not ‘true fruits’ because they grow from the receptacle of the flower and not the ovaries, as do other fruits.
2. A medium sized Apple contains 80 calories, 4grams of fibre and as a fruit they are cholesterol, sodium and fat free—useful to know after excesses of Christmas.
3. An apple tree does not bear fruit for the first 5 years but can survive over 100 years.
4. The science of the Apple is called pomology and its scientific name
Aplicus Rosacea, which links it to the Rose family. Maybe the saying 'a nice rosy apple' is not linked to its colour but from the apple's sweet smelling aroma.
5. The average Apple contains about 10 seeds and each seed contains a small amount of cyanide in the form of cyanogenic glycoside .NO ill effects are caused by swallowing the odd seed, the only fatality ever recorded was following the ingestion of a cupful being chewed and swallowed by the individual.
6. The County of Somerset is long famous for the Apple and its cider orchards are world famous. Avalon the ancient name for Glastonbury in translation means the isle of apples.
7.There are over 10,000 varieties of apples word wide. Some of the most familiar being Cox's Orange Pippin, Bramley's Seedling and Granny Smith.
8. Calvados is distilled from cider made from specially grown and selected apples from over 200 named varieties. It is not uncommon for a Calvados producer to use over 100 specific varieties of apples in his recipe, which are either sweet, tart or bitter. The fruit is harvested by hand or mechanically depending on quantity, then pressed into a juice that is fermented into a dry cider, then distilled into eau de vie. After two years of ageing in oak casks it can be sold as Calvados. The longer it is aged the smoother the drink becomes. Usually the maturation goes on for several years.
Cider brandy is also made in the UK and appears in records going back to 1678. Somerset Cider Brandy gained European protected geographical indication PGI status In 2011.
The British apple is in great decline, thousands of British orchards have been dug up and planted with houses. Our supermarkets are full of tasteless foreign imports so in 2016 if you are going to plant a tree, plant an apple tree. Its history is fascinating.