Photographing apple trees at Filoli during Orchard Days

by Linda Hubbard on October 16, 2020

InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most recently visited Filoli during its Orchard Days which continue through November 1.

Robb’s son James is an orchardist and he reviewed some photos and commented.

“What a beautiful collection of heirloom apples! From the Espous Spitzenberg, which was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson’s at his Monticello orchard, to the huge sharp flavored baking apple from the Netherlands: Belle de Boskoop (pictured top).  These collections are able to keep varieties unchanged over the generations through the process of grafting.

“Grafting is a simple horticultural form of cloning: a small branch from a desirable apple variety can be cut and grafted onto another young apple tree, transforming it into the desirable variety. Any named variety of apple can be traced back to a single individual, like the Spitzenberg, which has been cloned hundreds of thousands of times to keep its delicious apple qualities alive across generations.

“Also fascinating to see are the Burbank Mountain Ash fruit trees (above). Luther Burbank was a prolific plant breeder at the turn of the 20th century who bred and hybridized hundreds of species of fruits, grains, and ornamentals (like the russet-burbank potato, the Santa Rosa plum, and the Shasta daisy).
“These mountain ash trees must be selections from his collection as he worked to create a more palatable fruit out of the native Mountain Ash. Great to see that Filoli continues to propagate these unusual historical curiosities.”
In addition to apples – the popular Jonathon is pictured below – there are pears and persimmons along with grapes. On Orchard Days, visitors gain special access to the Gentleman’s Orchard where hundreds of heritage fruit trees grow. The Orchard is open every weekend in October; reservations in advance required.
Photos by Robb Most (c) 2020

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