In one of my very first posts here on my Transatlantic Gardener blog – ten years and 861 posts ago – I commented on the number of apple trees growing by the roadside. Since then there seem to be more and more, as passengers throw apple cores out of their car windows although, unfortunately, some of the best British examples have been destroyed by road widening.
Now, having not really paid attention (I have to say), I find that an apple found by a roadside in 2003 was introduced in 2010. I spotted the story in the latest catalogue from Pomona Fruits, one of Britain’s finest fruit nurseries. The apple is called ‘Christmas Pippin’ and it’s an easy-to-grow version of Britain’s all time favourite apple, ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’.
“The eating quality is exceptional,” say the good people at Pomona Fruits, “characterised by a sweet and aromatic flavour, lovely perfume and a very pleasant honey after-taste. The fruits are crisp and juicy with a melt in the mouth texture that makes each bite increasingly more pleasurable.” They also say that it’s “very easy to grow and produces reliable, heavy crops countrywide.” Sounds like the perfect apple and the Royal Horticultural Society thought it so good that they gave it their Award of Garden Merit in 2014.
‘Christmas Pippin’ was spotted by the side of the M5 motorway in Somerset in western England, assessed at Britain’s National Fruit Collection and at the country’s largest commercial grower of apple trees and introduced in 2010. It was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 2014. You can read the full story here.
In this case it turns out that ‘Christmas Pippin’ is probably a seedling from a lost tree that once grew in an orchard nearby. It's available in Britain from Pomona Fruits but unfortunately it doesn’t yet seem to be available in North America.
But wherever you’re stuck in traffic, just look out of the window and see what you can see…