When my parents bought their farm in Tasmania in 1952 there was an ancient apple tree in the garden. As far as we could tell it was a Bramley cooking apple. It produced a huge crop year after year, which my mother used in every way imaginable; baked, stewed, in steamed puddings, and in apple and blackberry pies. They were excellent keepers and lasted us right through Tassie’s cold winters.

We loved the fact that a little goldfinch nested in the branches every year.

Ancient apple tree, Ulverstone Tasmania
The old tree in the 1970’s, laden with fruit.

By the year 2000 the tree was in serious decline. My older brother Kenny was now living on the property, and as a safeguard he took a couple of grafts. When the trees were about a metre high he kindly sent one up to me in the Blue Mountains, carefully wrapped in damp sacking. I was delighted, and planted it in my Blackheath garden.

Planting the grafted apple tree at Blackheath.
In goes the little graft.

The tree was soon doing well. Oh the excitement of that first harvest!


Mind you, despite all my efforts our bowerbirds, parrots and possums take their share of the fruit!

A possum nibbled apple!
Yes, the imprint of little possum teeth can be seen on that apple.

Regardless of the losses to wildlife it has been wonderful to watch my ‘baby Bramley’ grow and fruit. I even bought a special apple dish at the Victory Antiques Centre.

 A dish of stewed Bramley apple.
Stewed apples for my breakfast.

This Christmas a small parcel arrived from Kenny. It was a real surprise, because we usually only send a card. Inside was a tiny Scotty dog he had carved from the wood of the original tree, which finally died after being struck by lightning. Oh my word, it will hard to top this gift!

Little dog carved from the wood of orignal apple tree, sitting on the fruit of a descendant graft.
In a way the old tree is united with its descendant.
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