New National Collection of Malus domestica for Plant Heritage

Plant Heritage is delighted to welcome a pioneering new Collection of Malus domestica Sussex apple cultivars to its nation-wide programme of National Plant Collections.
 
The Collection was established by Peter May and the Brighton Permaculture Trust in 2009 as part of a Local Fruit Futures Project funded by the Big Lottery Fund aimed at propagating apple trees which have a close connection with the towns and villages of Sussex.
 
“We recognised that the diversity of Sussex apple varieties needed preserving and that orchards provide a local food source that the community could be involved with,” said Peter on the project.

The National Collection, based just outside Brighton at Stanmer Park, includes around 30 different cultivars of apples, each being traced back to Sussex. The Collection has been based on the Sussex varieties held at the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale as well as additional research, and contains 24 cultivars which have been identified as threatened by the Plant Heritage Threatened Plants Project.
 
Some of the cultivars in the Collection have been painstakingly saved such as the last known tree of ‘Bossom’ which was blown down in a gale in 1986 and rescued by the Rev. Donald Johnson and Lady Caroline Egremont, who took grafting material from the tree to the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale.

Many of the cultivars derive from specific areas in Sussex, like ‘Hawkridge’ from Hawkridge Farm near Hellingly and ‘Saltcote Pippin’ from Rye.
 

Brighton Permaculture Trust was formed in 2000 and is a charity operating in Brighton and Sussex and to date has helped over 80 schools and community projects establish small orchards using the Sussex apple varieties held in the Collection. The Trust welcomes enquiries about supporting further orchard creation in Sussex and they also hold courses and events relating to fruit and apple growing. www.brightonpermaculture.org.uk

* Image copyright Peter May.


 

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