On Saturday morning (20 October) Mayor Nick Fogg, assisted by Philippa Davenport of the Marlborough Community Orchard (MCO) planted an apple tree. Not just a normal ‘Granny Smiths’, or an ‘everyday’ apple tree, rather a local (Wiltshire), rare and attractively edible variety.
The Corsley Pippin was planted, courtesy of the Marlborough & District Rotary in their rose bed in Priory Gardens to celebrate Marlborough Apple Day 2023.
This is one of four trees, of different varieties being planted around Marlborough to celebrate this year’s Apple Day. All Wiltshire varieties propagated for MCO by ecologist Rob Frith . The three other rare Wiltshire saplings will be planted later in the little green space oasis at Farrar Drive (they are: ‘Roundway Magnum Bonum’ a ‘Mary Barnett’ and a ‘Burn’s Seedling’).
Beyone these plantings, a further half dozen or so fruit tree saplings are scheduled to be planted within the next few weeks in other sites around town, keeping the planting parties (led by orchard guru, Patricia Rowell BSc MPhil, and Gerald Payne, with kind support from Nigel Weatherly, MTC’s Grounds Manager and his team) busy and spreading the fruitfulness of the MCO “town in an orchard” project.
How did this all come about? The seeds of Marlborough Community Orchard germinated in the late noughties and the idea of an ‘Apple Day’ not mooted until 2010. Since then there have been many plantings, one being the diamond shaped orchard planted for the late Queen’s Diamond Jubilee” on The Common in 2012. Ironically teh first tree in that orchard a planted by then-Mayor Cllr Edwina Fogg, Nick’s wife, and he accompanying Edwina as her consort.
The Corsley Pippin: a sweetly round and golden eating apple with russet-like skin. Found in the village of Corsley, not far from Longleat, it is thought to have originated from trees planted early in the twentieth century at Corsley School by Headmaster Mr Latham and his pupils. Latham believed keenly in the importance of teaching life skills as well as academic subjects, and included both gardening and woodwork on the curriculum of senior boys. Those who attended the school in Latham’s time remember planting pips, pruning and grafting classes. The County Inspector’s report of 1912 remarks on the pupils’ enthusiasm, adding “nowhere have I seen gardening equal to that which I have seen here.”
As yet the saplings planted by Marlborough Community Orchard are spread over nineteen open green space sites dotted in and around town, where permission to plant has been granted. More will surely follow in due course……
Visit ‘Windfalls and Wildings”’, a fundraising event for Marlborough Community Orchard at St Peter’s on Sunday 29 October