The apple orchard at Kiplin Hall has been restored thanks to a donation from the ancestors of the original owners.
The Wands family of Illinois, USA, direct descendants of the Calvert family, the original owners of Kiplin Hall, were guests of the Kiplin Hall Trustees at a ceremony on Monday to plant the final apple tree in the newly-restored apple orchard.
The Wands family have donated the money to pay for the recreation of the 19th century apple orchard which had disappeared when the gardens fell into decline at the start of the 20th century.
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A commemorative stone at the entrance to the orchard marks their generosity and the date that the final tree was planted.
The orchard is surrounded by an edible hedge to give edible flowers, fruits and nuts.
The site of the orchard is clearly marked on 19th century Ordnance Survey maps and so varieties of apples have been chosen that were recommended for use in the 1800s.
In the Kiplin Hall library, there is Admiral Carpenter’s copy of the John Claudius Loudon Encyclopaedia of Gardening dated 1835, and Beedon’s Encyclopaedia of Garden Management dated 1860.
The varieties Oslin, Ribston Pippin, Yorkshire Greening and Margil which have been planted, are all recommended in Loudon.
The apples from the original orchard were also used to make cider. Cider making requires a balance of sweet, bitter, sharp and tannin varieties and so, since Loudon’s recommended varieties are all sweet, the varieties Dabinett (bitter sweet) and Kingston Black (bitter sharp) have also been planted.
All the trees are planted in sets of two as pollinators.
Kiplin Hall’s gardens and tea room are open to the public every week until 1st November from Saturday to Wednesday, 10am – 5pm (4pm in March) so visitors will be able to come and see the new apple orchard for themselves.
Kiplin Hall itself re-opens for the new season on Saturday April 1st, 11am – 5pm, and the hall will be open every week until 1st November, Saturday to Wednesday.
The house and gardens will also be open on Good Friday.