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The Cox Family Collection

Project Partners:

Walworth Garden


The Cox Family Collection

10 x Apple malus domestica

The ten different apple trees selected for this collection are each a cross between Cox’s Orange Pippin and one other apple variety. 

The Cox’s Orange Pippin was raised by Richard Cox, a retired brewer around 1825, in Colnbrook, close to what is now Heathrow Airport. The Cox was Britain’s favourite variety throughout much of the 20th Century, and up until 2011, when due to supermarket supply chains and changing tastes towards sweeter crisper apples, it was superseded by Gala. The flavour of Cox is described as intense and aromatic, spicy, honeyed, nutty, and pear-like, with great complexity.

The Cox’s susceptibility to disease, (mildew, scab, canker) makes it a poor variety for garden use and organic growing. But Cox is also the parent of some of the very best tried and tested 20th Century apple varieties. Therefore our collection here does not include the Cox’s Orange Pippin itself, but rather a selection of its offspring. These varieties all have the characteristic complex flavours of Cox, but are generally more robust and disease resistant, and manifest a range of sweetness, crispness and other beneficial attributes. 

The trees are arranged to fruit from left to right, with those on the far end of the wall ripening first in early September, across to those on the right that will be ready for picking in mid October. The trees are grown in an oblique cordon formation. This diagonal growth, like an espalier form, benefits from the heat of the wall, and the angle of the trees encourages fruiting. In the first year fruit are removed to concentrate the energy of the tree into growing. 

Each tree was planted by a member of staff or volunteer at Walworth Garden in 2017 as part of the Garden’s 30th anniversary celebrations. The project was conceived and delivered by local artist Richard Galpin in collaboration with Walworth Garden.

(Ten apple trees, posts, galvanised wire, fixings,

signage), 2017.
Walworth Garden, London, 

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