The Westgate Wonder
Emerging from a proposal for the new Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford, the Westgate Wonder is a new apple variety that was grown from the pip of an apple bought in a supermarket in the old 1960's Westgate Centre just prior to demolition.
The Westgate Wonder was grown from a Jazz apple. The Jazz apple (formerly Sci-fresh) was the product of 10 year breeding programme from 9,600 seedlings and commercial trials in every major apple producing counrty of the world. First grown commercially in 2004, it now sells over 500 million apples worldwide. Jazz is protected by licence, patent and trade mark.
Because apples cross-pollinate the only way to continue to grow the same variety is to graft the tree. An apple grown from a pip contains genes from both parents so the resulting cross is unpredictable. The chances of success are very small. But occasionally a significant new variety will emerge.
Early indications are that the Westgate Wonder is rather lacking in vigour and prone to mildew. Wider cultivation is not recommended.
This project is about the interface between a large scale 21st Century development project, and its shabby 1960's predecessor, with the romantic history of apple varieties linked to landscape, people and places. It contrasts mass-scale apple breeding programmes for supermarkets, with the random potential of a single pip.
Species: Malus domestica
Parentage: Jazz (Scifresh) X Unknown
origin: Oxford, England