Hundreds of local families got a real flavour of fruit growing at Reaseheath College’s popular apple festival over the weekend.
The fruity festival, held at the Nantwich college as part of a national celebration of the English apple, featured 115 rare varieties of apples, some dating back to Roman times and some of more recent origin.
Horticultural experts Derek Jones and Harry Delaney were on hand to identify apple varieties, answer queries on the production of apples and other fruits and offered advice on the selection, growth, pruning and propagation of fruit trees.
Many visitors arrived with fruit and foliage for identification or brought in their own apples for juicing. Tours of the College’s fruit garden were delivered by former horticulture student Philip Swift, whilst Reaseheath’s current cohort of Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) students set up and helped to man the festival. Many of the apples on show were donated by Elizabeth Gentil, widow of Tony Gentil, Reaseheath’s former Deputy Head of Horticulture or came from Reaseheath’s own fruit orchard.
The festival, being held at Reaseheath for the 24th consecutive year, was aimed at encouraging gardeners to preserve old varieties of apples and soft fruit by growing them in their own gardens.
Explained Harry Delaney: “The English apple is part of our national heritage and though some species have been lost forever, the festival gives us the chance to think about the huge number of varieties we have left and how we ought to preserve them.
“This event is becoming busier each year. Lots of local families are interested in identifying and learning how to care for the old fruit trees they have inherited, or want to plant new trees in their gardens.”
Reaseheath College is offering day courses in pruning and grafting over the winter months and also has fruit trees for sale now. For further details contact 01270 613211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.