It was an unusual, red-fleshed variety with very deep pink blossom and red inner flesh when a stem or its fruit was cut. It gave delight to all who passed by it, shelter to local wildlife and provided fruit to anyone who chose to take them, for they made quite good eaters and were delicious when cooked well. The birds also enjoyed them as autumn turned to winter.
The passage of the years had exaggerated its natural lean and caused it to become dangerous so, sadly, it had to come down.
However, before it was felled, a resident took cuttings for budding and sent them to two nurseries and an amateur gardener. This winter these produced eight new trees on MM106 rootstocks, for which homes have been found across the country. Three have been returned to the street and planted in front and back gardens nearby and one has been planted in Horfield. There are now also specimens to be found in Hawksbury Upton, Wootton-under-Edge and in Wales.
The last one is going to a red-fleshed apple expert in Leicestershire in the hope that they will be able to identify the variety.
So, what to replace it with?
The location, on a north-facing pavement, is just five metres from nearby houses (so neighbours are particularly concerned not to lose too much light), requires a tree which is small, light canopied, preferably has both blossom and fruit and definitely has value for insects and birds.
The street supports a rare swift colony and there are breeding starlings and sparrows using the nearby house eaves to nest and raise their young. The residents are keen to support all these declining species, especially the swifts which have a very high demand for insect food.
The majority of trees in the neighbourhood are small to medium sized, blossoming and bearing either berries or fruits – typical of a 1930s housing estate. These trees bring a lot of pleasure to all and support bio-diversity.
What do you think would suite this location? Please let us know.