Today I saw Sir Isaac Newton’s Apple Tree. Like Napoleon’s Willow, the Lone Pine and Charles Darwin, every town worth its salt has a descendant.
I saw my first at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden today.
The tree whose falling apple inspired Isaac Newton in 1666 was growing in his garden at Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham, in Lincolnshire. The tree I saw today, devoid of fruit and leaves, was a grafted cutting of Malus domestica ‘Flower of Kent’ reputedly sourced from this tree at Woolshorpe Manor.
According to an article on a specimen growing in the Physics Garden of the University of York, Cambridge University Botanic Garden got their plant from East Malling in Kent, who got theirs from Belton Park in Lincolnshire, who got theirs from Woolsthorpe Manor. Along the way, apparently, Kew Gardens got hold of the plant and it was them (us) that provided it to the University of York.
Very soon the Cambridge University tree will be covered in ‘pink-flushed, white blossom’ but I needn’t wait around for the fruit. The botanic garden’s website says it ‘sometimes produces a crop of not particularly tasty, disease-prone eating apples‘.
While at the the botanic garden we also enjoyed the Winter Garden and a Japanese Lantern or Jack O’Lantern (Physalis alkekengi) growing in the Chronological Bed, a linear collection of plants ordered by the date they entered into UK horticulture. This Japanese Lantern was near the start, in the early sixteenth century.
We also saw some non-botanical things in Cambridge, including a marble replica of Newton in Trinity College (first photo) and some sensuous sculptures outside the Fitzwilliam Museum that seem to be by the same artist who created The Core at the Eden Project.
And much more, thanks to the guidance of friend and (phycological) colleague, Julie Berkman (pictured next to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden sign to the right of Lynda). I must say that I didn’t learn much from the Chorale Evensong at King’s College Chapel other than young boys have sweet voices, but I did discover a new way to carry my kayak from a picture displayed at the Scott Polar Research Institute and Museum.
From Talking Plants