Tom Munday and apple tree

Tom Munday and apple tree

Several years ago the Park set about tracking down names for all the old apple trees growing out on site. This involved experts at  the Brogdale Fruit Trust or Wisley, for apples and crab apples respectively. Fruit, branch wood and foliage were duly examined proving the majority of our trees were wild seedlings of no provenance or quality. There were however two exceptions. To the north of Butser is a lane linking the Hill with the East Meon Road at Bo Peep pond. This lane has always been known as Crab Apple with many old fruit trees  planted along its length. The only one of these which could be  identified was Malus Striped Beauty, a crab apple first named in the 1930s.

The second tree of note was found growing on the edge of the A3 slip road close to the visitor centre, one of a number located there which probably originated from an apple core thrown out of a car window. A much younger tree with dark red fruit of a surprisingly good flavour. No match could be found and so the Park was left with a distinct tree but with no name. At the time one of our rangers was retiring after a long career at the Park and in the spirit of old varieties  such as James Grieve, or  Charles Ross, the new name became Tom Munday. Every year we graft another 15 Tom Munday trees on to semi-dwarfing rootstock and these are currently available from the Centre shop.

Other old varieties of local provenance such as the Hambledon Deux Ans or Easter Orange have been planted out on site either in the small paddocks close to our two cottages, or in Rake Field as standards in the newly laid hedge.

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