Apples are a familiar feature in our household. Constantly in transition they ebb and flow, largely due to my wife's homage to the old adage - and we go through at least an apple each day. But have you noticed how poor store bought apples are these days? Putting in our own apple trees was never so much of an option as a natural reaction to the curses I'd hear coming from the general vicinity of the fruit bowl. And a curse-a-day doesn't do anywhere as much for you as an apple.
So I've selected the bed behind our pergola for this most holy of tasks. You might remember that I'd said it doesn't receive quite a whole day's sun; but anything above one metre will get a fair baking. So a couple more trees are perfect for this bed.
But there's another problem here I can attack, with these apple trees as my weapon of choice. Our pergola is welcome shelter in bad weather; but it can be almost unbearable under there on a hot summer afternoon - right about the time when you want to be serving drinks and turning the sausages and steaks. The deciduous nature of apple trees are going to be our friendly and attractive BBQ assistant; giving us some cover from the hot afternoon sun in summer; but letting all the sun through to warm things up in winter.
I selected two dwarf trees for the spot (once again, take a moment to picture my car driving through the traffic; trees poking haphazardly from the windows) - growing only three to four metres will give them enough height to provide shade (and catch the sun all day), while not enough to begin a subterranean conquest and storm through the walls of the castle.
The shorter one is a pink lady; it's placed where it will get the most sun for its current height, in the back corner. The bean-pole is a Granny Smith. These are a good pollinating pair (and you need two by the way), but most importantly, these are two variety with fairly low chilling hours (i.e. the time they need to freeze their butts off in winter to put-out the next season) - perfect for Sydney weather.
The icing on this cake came in the form of a Pinkabelle apple gifted to me in the last minute of the 11th hour. Pinkabelles are a columnar (non-branching) pink lady apple - a form I'd briefly considered growing exclusively in the bed central to today's story. The problem here is that most other varieties in this form don't seem that great for Sydney's weather; and Pinkabelles in particular don't grow high enough to give the desired cover. But it'll work wonderful in a pot; and fruiting two weeks before regular pink-ladies, will give us a bit better coverage of apples.
As you might imagine, this is only going to scratch the surface of the annual apple consumption rate - so now I leave this chapter behind, and start and in-depth study of apple preservation.