Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Fall is a time of plenty. There are so many kinds of floral materials available, including lots of different fruit varieties. Take the apples, for example. Red, yellow, green, and multi-colored ones are used in floral design. My favorite kind for floral arrangements is the Lady apple.
Also known as Lady’s finger and wax apple, the Lady apple is an heirloom variety that apparently has been around for some two thousand years.
This variety has become a real favorite for Christmas decorations. The small size of the fruits mean they are just perfect for holiday wreaths and garlands. They keep as well as any other apple will in floral arrangements. If you want them to last longer, spray them with one of the clear preservatives that are available in most craft stores.
Lady apples are perfect for mixing and matching with other seasonal fruits, such as calamondins and kumquats. Depending on your needs, you can create entire wreaths or centerpieces using these fruits. In addition, the Lady apple is ideal for holiday fruit topiaries. Typically, a tree-shaped piece of Styrofoam is used as the base for these topiaries. However, other shapes are also suitable as well.
The most wonderful thing about the Lady apple is its small size. These are around 1½ inches in diameter. In addition, these are noted for their distinctive shape. They tend to be flattened at both ends. Depending on where you buy them, Lady apple may be in different colors. These include yellow or green with a lot of blushing bright red.
Lady apples are an heirloom variety that is available at some apple orchards. Your best bet is to check local farmers’ markets. Also, call the orchards in your area. You’ll be so pleased when you find them that you’ll feel this has been well worth the effort.
As an option, you could buy your own Lady apple tree from nurseries that offer heirloom apple varieties. When grafted onto dwarf rootstock, the lady apple begins bearing at an early age. The trees do tend to bear heavily in alternate years.
Of all the named apple varieties, this is considered to be probably the oldest. In the first century A.D., this was developed by the ancient Etruscans. After it was introduced to France via the garden of Louis XII, it became a favorite in that country. Louis XIV said it was the only apple that was worth growing. Also grown in England, it was brought to the U.S. during colonial times where it became a well-loved Christmas variety.