I have learned not to get too upset by Wellington's ferocious equinoxial winds - what's the point, the wind isn't going to respond! And I live in a very exposed spot. We get gales (defined as an average wind speed of 62-74km/h) regularly both from the north and the south. But this is where I am and I want to be able to grow happy plants - what to do? The first step is to notice what actually grows in your location. Here in Island Bay I saw apple trees that seemed to be doing quite well. So apples were worth a try - on dwarfing stock so the plants don't get too tall and thus more exposed to wind.
I have two modern apples - Autento (Delcoros) and Tentation (Delblush) from Delbard, a French nursery that was already of interest to me because of beautiful roses they have bred. Like roses, modern apples are bred with disease resistance in mind - the use of pesticides and fungicides is being limited as we become more aware of the problems they cause. And plants in my garden have to manage without being sprayed - I prefer organic practices if at all possible, and it is just being realistic about my way of doing things - I am not particularly interventionist. Using older varieties which have proven their disease resistance over time is another way of ensuring we can have safe gardening practices, and there are really great people who have collected heritage varieties so that they are not lost to us.
Autento has been a great success despite inauspicious beginnings - scaffolding fell on the plant breaking off branches on one side. And the wind hasn't let up just because it had a hard start.
But spring brings blossom -
the pretty pink buds and blush flowers of Autento blossom framed by the soft fresh green new leaves -
with the promise of delicious apples - crisp and tangy, a good strong apple flavour, and they store well.
It is still a small crop from this tree, but there are many layers of pleasure from growing it. A suprise is that it reminds me of how lucky we are to get such generous supplies of tasty apples from local growers. I enjoy the particular flavour and quality of the Autento apples. And I am able to enjoy many different aspects of the life of this plant including its beauty and resilience - not least the amazing capacity of trees to heal themselves when branches are lost.
I love my brave little tree!