The old apple tree at the end of our garden was laden with fruit when we moved into our house two years ago. So much so that we put big bowls of the delicious, sweet apples at our gate for passers by to help themselves. But we had no idea what variety these apples were and would still be none the wiser if it were not for the Cambridge University Botanic Garden’s Apple day, a fabulous celebration of all things appley, which is happening again on Sunday 22 October.
There’s something for everyone at this event. Over two dozen varieties of locally grown apples will be available for tasting and you can buy your favourites. Experts will be on hand to advise you on apple cultivation – what to grow, how to plant and how to prune for a bumper crop. A marquee on the Main Lawn will be full of locally produced edibles and there will also be a wide choice of refreshments from a variety of food trucks and the Garden Cafe, which will offer plenty of apple themed dishes alongside its normal menu.
Experts from the East of England Apples and Orchards Project will offer an apple identification service so if you have a mystery tree in your garden, just bring along two or three apples, ideally with a leaf and stalk attached to help with identification. Who knows, you may bring a lost heritage variety to light!
Younger visitors will be able to get creative with craft activities led by local paper cut artist Vanessa Stone and Cambridge Sustainable Food. There will be mini gardens to visit and mini lawn mowers to play on plus live music on the Main Lawn as well as a performance from the Cambridge Morris Men. Tour guides will lead free specialist seasonal garden tours which you can sign up for on the day.
For Apple Day, you can book tickets in advance, either online or at the Ticket Office, the advantage being that you get fast track entry. But tickets will also be available on the day at The Ticket office and under 16s get in free! I can testify that the forty acre Botanic Garden, which is home to one of the region’s largest tree collections, is a magical place in every season, a really peaceful oasis in a busy city so for future visits, you might like to become a Friend of the Garden – membership offers you free access, regular updates and exclusive events.
And as for our mystery apple tree ….. the experts identified it as Laxton’s Superb, a late Victorian dessert apple dating back to 1897. It’s nice to think that we have our own little piece of appley heritage at the end of the garden!
1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE