Urban Apple

There are apple trees that languish in orchards with bluebells and clover at their feet.  And then there are apples who stand all alone, trained across industrial wires on the side of a house.  Poetic isn’t it.  Well actually it is.  There is something more poignant about an apple tree that succeeds in baring fruit  in the harshest of circumstances.  Its so easy to be beautiful and fruitful in an orchard after all. 

These ramblings are all supposition of course as I’ve no experience of orchards and this is my first time training and maintaining an apple tree.   Urban apple was delivered on Friday by our inquisitive UPS man.  He seems to enjoy reading delivery labels to figure out what I’ve ordered.  I’ve half a mind to order something nasty to nip that in the bud.  “Looks like some kinda plant”, he said.  “Its my apple tree!” I said excitedly…(I could never write a play).  Exit stage left to the kitchen to open box.

I unpacked him and he was in great condition.  The chap at Trees of Antiquity told me he’d pick out a tree thats already on its way to being a good candidate for espalier.  Together with his help we chose a White Pearmain (self fertile) that would work well.  I informed Shane that I would need a hole dug on Saturday morning. 

We always cringe when we dig holes around our house.  There is no telling what lurks beneath.  In this particular case what lurked beneath was a foundation lip that stuck out from the base of the wall by about 6 inches.  Urban apple is therefore learning to lean nonchalantly into the wall (we must adapt to our circumstances).  Shane also found the usual bricks that we have discovered over and over and over when digging out our vegetable garden.  Now we had several more to add to the collection.   Not much of an auspicous start to the proceedings. 

I’m not sure if Urban apple is wondering what he did in a past life to deserve such a location but he’s gonna have to suck it up.  He’s got full sun all day and an owner willing to take care of him.  He already had two laterals that I’m convincing to eventually go horizonal for me on the first wire.  Apparently we get laid back at the end of the summer.  I’ve also snipped the leader to a good bud just above the second wire to encourage new branches.  I’ve got bamboo stakes lashed to the wires to protect the bark and a nice coat of white paint up to the first branch that apparently acts like sunscreen. 

Despite the foundation and bricks, the soil back there looks like chocolate cake crumbs so I’m optimistic.  He also looks out onto one of my Zephirine Drouhin roses so the view isn’t so bad and he’s in good company with my vegetables, roses and bee garden.  We may not be an orchard but we are pretty special too.

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