The Lough Tree of Wexford

When Joy and l planned Ballyrobert Gardens just over 30 years ago, a key part of our intention at the time was to ensure that the design of the garden would reflect the historic nature of the site which seemed to have been a clachan. There were fruit trees here when we purchased the site, the bulk of which were plums growing in hedges. A small orchard was included in our plan and, following visits to the Irish apple collections at the Organic Centre, Rossinver and the ISSA centre in County Clare, we chose a range of heritage apple varieties to meet our needs.

Our garden is hopeless for top fruit, given its heavy soil and being a perfect frost pocket, but we had confidence that these old Irish varieties which had evolved in similar conditions would be very fitting for the type of garden which we were planning.

The tree that impressed us most on our travels was an apple variety with its origins in County Wexford, hence its name, The Lough Tree of Wexford. To say this is a wonderful tree and much more than just an apple tree is an understatement; it has far exceeded our expectations. The blossom in spring is mighty plentiful on a tree to about 12m, and its ability to produce a regular crop of attractive fruit on our site is very impressive. This variety is essentially a desert apple but it is also very suitable for cooking. We now have three trees of this variety including one in a hedge; bearing in mind its upright habit and moderate vigour, we are confident that it would be the perfect tree for adding to hedges and also be very suitable for smaller gardens. And that is not all about this tree. There is no need for pesticides because, to date, there has been no mildew nor apple canker on our trees. Most years the leaves turn an attractive yellow colour in the autumn, the perfect contrast to the beautiful crimson fruit.


As appeared in Newsletter 156, September 2022. Text and photo courtesy of Maurice Parkinson.