Tree-mendous gift is really ap-peeling

From left,  Louisa Goddard, Isabella Dean, Ellie Turner and Jacob Ward

From left, Louisa Goddard, Isabella Dean, Ellie Turner and Jacob Ward

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These schoolchildren certainly know their onions... and their potatoes, strawberries, peas and cauliflowers.

Youngsters at St John’s Catholic Primary School in Poulton are as famous for their fresh produce as their educational achievements.

Pupils at St John's Primary School have been planting trees.  Some of them are pictured with John Turner and Father John Walsh.

Pupils at St John's Primary School have been planting trees. Some of them are pictured with John Turner and Father John Walsh.

Three-time winners of Poulton in Bloom, the young gardeners enjoy growing fruit and vegetables on a plot on the Breck Road site.

Now they have added apples to the goodies tended by Years Three, four, five and six.

To celebrate their horticultural triumphs, the school took delivery of three new apple trees.

And keen gardener John Turner, who teaches the children growing skills, was on hand to help plant the new arrivals.

He said: “I chose three unusual varieties – Bardsey, Red Windsor and Lord Lambourne. Bardsey is the oldest variety and comes from North Wales while the Lord Lambourne sapling comes from a tree which is more than 1,000 years old.

“The youngsters were delighted by the trees but were a bit disappointed when I told them that most of them will have left secondary school or be in work by the time they are ready to bear edible fruit.”

Mr Turner, 77, started to help out at the school after retiring as stadium manager at Blackpool FC.

He was inspired to plant the apple trees after Father John Walsh from the adjacent St John’s Church said he was interested in expanding his own orchard.

Mr Turner said: “There are thousands of variety of apples and the children have been fascinated by the trees.

“We also great plenty of other fruits and vegetables at the school and the children love helping out – especially when it comes to eating the strawberries. These apple trees will really be a legacy for future pupils at the school.”

Varieties of English apples – some popular, some not to our taste

• Red Pippin - This variety was originally named Fiesta and has a sweet aromatic flavour with crisp texture and good levels of juice. First volumes become available in October and last until January.

• Jonagold – It was raised in New York, USA in 1943. It is a large fruiting apple which has never been popular with British consumers and whose fruits are frequently poorly coloured.

• Laxton’s Fortune - First raised in 1904 by Laxtons of Bedford, the variety was introduced in 1931. The skin colour is bright red over a green background colour.

• Cox - Widely regarded as the finest of all eating apples.

Originally named Cox’s Orange Pippin, improved strains have been planted in modern orchards.