Last year I wrote about our Apple Trees in – Season of Misty Mellow Fruitfulness or A Tale of Three Trees and as October has rolled round again with seemingly indecent haste I thought it time for an update on my Unidentified Tree Number Three.
Not long after writing my last post apples from Unidentified Tree Number Three were taken on a day trip to one of our local Applefests, where it was duly identified as Newton Wonder by the knowledgable folk who specialise in all things appley.
According to the RHS it is said to be a cross between Blenheim Orange and Dumelow’s Seedling and described as “A vigorous tree cropping well, with a larger crop every other year”. Although I’m not sure my tree can read as the sum total this year’s crop is a whole three apples*. Still I suppose that’s three more than in any of the other years with the notable exception of 2013.
Now you might think that with a name like Newton Wonder it might share some ancestry with that famous gravitational cultivar growing in Sir Isaac’s garden, if you did you would be wrong. The story is, I think, a much better one.
The tree was discovered by a Mr Samual Taylor of King’s Newton in Darbyshire. Not, as many apples are, discovered growing by the roadside. No, this one, according to folklore was found growing in the roof gutter of Hardinge Arms where Mr Taylor was the Landlord. I like to think he took pity on this little seedling growing against the odds and decided it deserved a second chance, planting it in the garden of the pub. It must have impressed as Messers Pearson & Co cultivated it and in 1887 it was awarded an RHS First Class Certificate. Not bad for an apple who started life in a gutter. ￼
*Happily for us we have a recipe that requires precisely three apples:
3 Newton Wonder – Apples
3oz Soft Light Brown Sugar
3oz Golden Caster Sugar
6oz Self-Raising Flour
Demerara Sugar for a final sprinkle
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 180°C,
Grate the apples into a bowl. Cream together the butter and sugar. Gradually add in the eggs. Fold in the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon Fold in the grated apples. Bake at 180 until done (30-40 mins depending on the size of your tin)
Sprinkle with Demerara Sugar if required and eat while still warm.
Once upon a time there were three apple trees…………. One was a Bramley, one was a Worcester Permain and one was Unidentified (because for the five years we have been here it never produced a single apple).
The two fruiting trees had been so badly pruned in the past that the apples produces were way out of reach and in the case of the Bramley down right costly. With a thud they fell on the roof breaking tiles as they bounced. The windfalls also bounced off our cars but it was the broken slates skidding down that did the damage. A blanket of apples lay on the ground attracting hoards of marauding wasps and hornets and if you weren’t careful getting into the car they became unwanted hitchhikers. The trees days were numbered.
A local chappy was duly called to take down the trees, but tree number three had a reprieve, it could stay. It was well behaved, producing lovely flowers in spring but no apples. It wasn’t a great shape but had lovely bark and It wasn’t any bother.
Now with the exceptionally late spring this year, all the fruit trees around us flowered pretty much at the same time (we live in a part of the world with the odd orchard or two). Now in the case of tree number three this was obviously a happy thing. For the first time in all these years the partner tree required to pollinate it was flowering just at the right time. So for the first time it has apples.
I have no idea what it is or what the apples taste like, it seems rather more eater than cooker. Happily our local school is having an Applefest so I might take it along for identification.
Its fate is now in the balance, if it’s going to do this on a regular basis it might just have to join its friends in the wood shed.
But for now it will be the ingredient for seasonal Bapple Cake.