Mayflower 400 Pilgrim Apple Tree

On the 11th February a unique new variety of apple tree, the Pilgrim 400, was planted in Cuckoo Lane, alongside the Mayflower daffodils, to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing from Southampton. The tree is just 1 of 18 specially bred by Nottinghamshire horticulturalist and BBC gardening correspondent, John Stirland, who brought it down to Southampton himself. John gave a very interesting talk about the tree’s 5 year history starting with his quest for a mature tree grown from pip (copy available on request via the contact page). The planting ceremony was led by the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Peter Baillie, who thanked FTQP for taking care of the Park so well. The gathering included FTQP members, Council Officers, the press, staff and children from St Johns School – in recognition of its status as School of Sanctuary. The planting was followed by coffee and a specially made Bramley apple cake at The Dancing Man. Thanks to Bassetlaw Council – home of the Pilgrim Roots branch of Mayflower 400 – who initiated the apple tree to commemorate the 5 villages in their area from which the early Separatists came, long before they reached Leiden or Southampton.