I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned the apples trees yet. There are two of them, and they are just little whips right now. Both are heritage or antique apples — Winchester and Virginia Gold — and were originally developed for Virginia’s crazy humid and hot summer climate. Neither is a common variety. In fact, it took some serious searching to track them down.
If you’ve ever tasted either variety, you know the search was worth it.
When I bought this place, I knew I wanted to plant a couple apples along the side of the garage. I’d train them into some espalier form, and they would be beautiful and productive, and their fruit would be delicious. I knew I would need two trees, to ensure proper pollination. And, I knew I wanted something unusual. Something other than a ‘Red Delicious’ or a ‘Granny Smith.’
But, how to choose? There are hundreds — thousands? — of antique apple varieties out there.
Turns out, the choosing was easy: I selected my apple varieties by tasting them.
Last fall, I spent a sunny afternoon at a plant sale at Blandy Experimental Farm, home of Virginia’s State Arboretum. At the plant sale, there was a booth featuring heritage / antique apples. Free tastings! I tried a slice of every variety they offered (a dozen or so), and completely fell for two of them: Winchester and Virginia Gold.
After a long search, I tracked down both varieties at Vintage Virginia Apples, a heritage nursery less than two hours from my house. Sold!
The apples arrived this spring, and have settled happily along the side of my garage. I’m not fussing with them yet. But, I have plans for them. And, I need to start working on those plans soon.
These apples are going to be espaliered apples.
They’re still just whips, with only the hint of branches. So, there’s no need for training quite yet. But, they will be big enough to train soon. So, I’m collecting images on Pinterest, and am spending too much time gazing at the garage, trying to picture the perfect shape for the space.
Because, these trees won’t stay whips forever. And, I can’t wait!
What do you think? Have you grown espalier before? Do you have a favorite shape?