We are gradually restoring a very overgrown garden in Dorset. Part of the work has involved uncovering old walls that were smothered in rampant ivy, in places to a depth of nearly 2 feet; and the beds hidden underneath. This was followed by some approximate repointing ‘à la rustique’. The next stage was to remove the ‘dead’ soil and replace it with fresh topsoil mixed with compost; then to begin the planting. Here is part of the project, in May, showing a new espalier Cox apple tree on the south-facing side of the wall. The wire compound is to keep rabbits out – mostly successfully. The COX’S ORANGE PIPPIN, a classic eating apple, was first grown in 1826 as a hybrid of the Ribstone Pippin. This variety is small, crisp and juicy, with a slightly sharp tang. Completely delicious, in fact.

Cox Apples 2013 6

The tree luckily took to its situation and in due course began to produce some promising-looking fruit. Cox’s ripen in October, and should only be picked if the pips rattle when the fruit is shaken. We were amazed to have grown two dozen apples (there were also a couple of outliers that had been eaten, apparently by ants). A few on the lower branches are still not ready to pick – they were rather shaded by plants that grew during the summer. Some we have eaten straight off the tree. Here are a few that we harvested a couple of days ago.

Cox Apples 2013 1

Testing for the ‘pick me now’ rattleCox Apples 2013 2

First Harvest. Next year we will train a third row near the top of the wall. More apples.Cox Apples 2013 3

2 thoughts on “COX APPLES: FIRST HARVEST (2013)

  1. I’ve eaten many Cox’s but I have never tried to rattle one! I usually try to eat them while there is a lot of green on them and they are not completely ripe. Your hard work looks as if it has paid off.


    1. I don’t think the pips rattle while they are still green! The last few on the tree, unripe a few days ago, are redder and rattling today – time to pick them… Time also to start planning the bee / butterfly plants for next year – more hyssop, cosmos and lavender for a start. RH


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