Isle of Wight Apple People and Places

Jill and Steve Cowley at Lee Farm

Jill and Steve Cowley live at Lee Farm in Wellow on the Isle of Wight.  They were the inspiration and driving force behind the Yarmouth Community Orchard (see details on this site here). 

Jill has also planted a great many apple trees, dessert, cookers and cider apples at home in Lee Farm. There are also plums and pears, a few old original trees and of course some mysteries, the plan says ‘November – own roots’ and ‘Donkey Pippin – own roots – pick late October’.  It wouldn’t be an orchard visit without some puzzles and unknowns!  Also a growing number of cobnuts and filberts. Jill chose the apples partly by name so that each member of her family should have their own named apple tree, some easy to find when searching through catalogues, like Moses and some more needing an imaginative approach like Fameuse for Faye. Max has pear ‘Maxton Nibbler’ and of course the nuts Corylus maxima.
There were trees here which I had never met as well as some very familiar ones, I had not been to Lee Farm before in Apple season so it was a fascinating and interesting visit.
The soil is heavy clay on a fairly windswept site, last winter (2013/2014) some of it was under water for quite a while and recently it had been baked by the heat wave and the ground had opened into cracks wide enough to put your foot down in some places.  There was also a plague of moles! Some of the trees had lifted their roots out of the ground or the stake had become loose but in a difficult apple year many had fruit, some in abundance.  
As I have only just met these apples this year some of the comments below come from catalogues and other sources – they may yet be added to the website individually but this takes time.  I also need to wait until they are in season before attempting to describe them fully.

For a complete list of the fruit grown at Lee farm please scroll down to the bottom of this article.

Here are some of the apples we saw on our August visit - in no particular order.

Jordan's Weeping

This is a most unusual tree with quite an arching growth, similar to the kilmarnock Willow (Goat Willow).  The fruit is moderate and borne in abundance.  Will make an unusual specimen tree. Discovered in Norfolk.  Fruit ready in Mid October - has strawberry flavour.  Good 'Centrepiece tree'.  (Description from Deacon's catalogue)  Jill's comment was that her tree had started weeping a bit soon and was too near the ground!

Polly Whitehair

Description from Lodge Farm Gloucestershire - 'Fruit conical with russet dots, sweet rich flavour, ornamental blossom, origin Cornwall

Bardsey Island

‘Bardsey Island known in Welsh as Ynys Enlli is a small Island off the coast of the Llyn peninsula in North Wales. The island has a long history dating back to Celtic times as a place of pilgrimage. In 1998 an ornithologist called Andy Clarke while catching passing birds in order to ring them picked some windfall apples from under a gnarled old tree to use as bait. As the apples looked interesting he took some to his friend Ian Sturrock an expert on old orchards. Samples were sent to the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent where Dr Joan Morgan the country's leading apple expert and historian declared it as a hitherto unknown variety. Thus Bardsey apple was discovered and named.

It is medium sized round conical fruit which is ribbed and five crowned. It is attractive with bold pink stripes over a cream coloured skin. Useful both as dessert and culinary apple. It has a distinctive lemon scent and a fine refreshing flavour. It cooks to a delicate light fluff needing little sugar.
The original tree and fruit on Bardsley Island were found to have no sign of disease. In particular there was no sign of scab or canker both of which are widespread in the humid climate of North Wales. So far all signs are that Bardsey is resistant to both these diseases.’

More information can be found on the Bardsey Apple website 

Kentish Fillbasket

Known before 1820, very large, red striped, flushed, cooks to a sweet, light puree.  It was used as an early planting in Western Australia in the 1860s.  Pick in October, store November - January.  (Description from Catalogue)

Flower of the West

'An attractive little russet apple from the Minsterworth/Westbury area', from Lodge Farm. Glos.  

Apples at Lee Farm
*means they are on this website

Back Orchard - Apples
*Crawley Beauty, *Newton Wonder, *Blenheim Orange, *Tom Putt, ?old Cox’s Orange Pippin, *Lady Sudeley, Miller’s Seedling (Red Millers Seedling is on this site), *Brownlee’s Russet, Goldfinch, *Sunset, *Discovery, *James Grieve, *Greensleeves
Other Fruit
Wild Plums, Damson ‘Merryweather’, Cherry ‘Stella’, Quince ‘Berenski’, Early Transparent Gage

Vegetable Garden
*Orleans Reinette, *Reinette Rouge Etoille, *Ecklinville, *Howgate Wonder, Violette, *Red Devil, *Steyne Seedling, *Thorle Pippin,
Other Fruit
Walnut ‘Buccaneer’, Filbert/Hazel, Plum ‘Marjorie’s Seedling’, Plum ‘Pond’s Seedling’

Front Orchard
* Arthur Turner, *Reinette du Canada, *Pitmaston Pineapple, *Steyne Seedling, *Beauty of Kent, Colonel Vaughan, Josephine de Malines, *Sir John Thorneycroft, * Golden Spire, King Charles Pearmain, Kentish Fillbasket, * Bramley’s Seedling, William Crump, +  three unknowns, Donkey Pippin,  November and Early red spindle, Quarrenden type
Other Fruit
Gooseberries, Suncrisp, London, Invicta, Hinnomaki, Tayberries, Boysenberries, Ouillins Golden Gage, Plums ‘Victoria’, ’Ontario’,  Redcurrants, Laxton’s No. 1, Red Lake, Rondom, Pears, Josephine De Malines, Bergamotte D’Esperran, Beth, Concorde, Triple Pear, Hacon’s Incomparable, Louise Bonne of Jersey, Robin, Nouveau Poiteau

Orchard Lee East
Scarlet NonPareil, Leathercoat Russet, George Carpenter, Wooton Costard, Burr Knot, Arlingham Schoolboys, Hunt Duke of Gloucester, Margaret, *Golden Noble, Bardsey Island, Old Pomeroy, Pig’s Snout, Bridgewater Pippin, Teton de Demoiselle, *George Neal, Flower of the West, Peggy’s Pride, Gladstone, *George Cave, * Norfolk Royal, Josephine, Profit, Herrings Pippin, Coeur de Boeuf, Flower of Kent, *Stirling Castle, *Lord Derby, *Catshead, Malster, Sam Young, Manks Codlin, Moses, Peacemaker, Marriage maker, Shustoke, Mosses Seedling
Other Fruit
Apricot Bullace, Purple leaved Filbert, Cherries ‘Kordia’, ‘Empress Eugenie, Pear ‘Meeches Prolific’

Orchard Lee West
Court of Wick, Old Pomeroy, *Golden Noble, Sops in Wine, Golden Knob, Golden Reinette, Dartmouth crab, Jordan’s Weeping, Slack Ma Girdle, Yellow Ingestre, Red Joaneting, *Elstar, Nonpareil, *Duchess’s Favourite, *Mother, Fameuse, Polly Whitehair, Golden Gem, *Annie Elizabeth
Other Fruit
Golden Mirabelle, Wine Plum, Sweet Chestnut, Pear ‘Maxton Nibbler’, Filberts