Apple tree returns home

2019-04-23 06:00
Buks Nel of Tru-Cape does his part in planting the tree.PHOTO: @BrianBerkmanZa

Buks Nel of Tru-Cape does his part in planting the tree.PHOTO: @BrianBerkmanZa

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A variant of the original apple tree that was planted in the late 1650s was replanted at The Company’s Garden Restaurant in the city centre on Wednesday 17 April.

The Witte Wijnappel was, according to historical records, the first apple variety planted and harvested on the fertile ground the garden provided.

This planting ceremony was hosted by the City of Cape Town in partnership with fruit distributor Tru-Cape, Hortgro and the Cape Heritage Fund.

Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said The Company’s Garden Restaurant was reclaiming a piece of its significant history by replanting the tree.

“The return of a variant of the first apple tree planted in The Company’s Garden is a remarkable story, made possible through the four partners.”

He said that Tru-Cape’s quality assurance manager, Henk Griessel and colleague Buks Nel, started researching the history of apples more than a century ago, which finally culminated in the production of the book titled Apples in the Early Days at The Cape.

“After a period of extensive research, they managed to track down a variant of the original apple tree in the Netherlands. A budwoood from which a new tree could be grown was imported, and after a considerable period in quarantine, it was ready for planting,” Badroodien said.

Ward 115 councillor, who also serves as a chairperson for The Company’s Garden steering committee, Dave Bryant, said the return of the plant was a significant one because it adds momentum to the original intention behind the garden.

“When The Company’s Garden was first built, it was not laid out for flowers, but it was aimed at serving as a fruit garden because this was a trading post and people had to get supplies,” he explained.

He further explained that going back to the original use of the garden was greatly significant.

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