The photo gracing our website depicts a 26-year-old Roxbury Russet in full bloom. The apple tree is located in Carroll Park, part of 2,300 acres given as a land-grant to Dr. Charles Carroll in the 1730's. In 1754, the property, which edges the gentle Gwynns Falls, passed to the doctor’s son, Charles Carroll Barrister (attorney), who transformed part of his holdings into the paradise called Carroll's Hundred. At the center of this garden stood the family mansion (Mount Clare*) surrounded by the jewel-like symmetry of a Georgian landscape with its orchards, vineyards, and terraced gardens.
The Roxbury Russet is the oldest cultivated apple in America. This particular tree was planted during an early restoration effort of Carroll Park. The Carroll Park Foundation (CPF) began its latest rounds of restoration in 2006 in partnership with the Baltimore Talent Development HS in Harlem Park. Supported by a grant from The History Channel's "Save Our History Program", CPF and BTDHS students planted about 80 heritage variety fruit trees for The Black Damask Project.
Black damask is the name used by Charles Carroll Barrister when he ordered some damson plum trees in 1765. The trees CPF planted are now about 6 years old and have begun bearing fruit. They have interesting names like: Calville blanc d'hiver, Ripston Pippin, Esopus Spitzenburg, Albemarle Pippin, Maidenblush, and Twenty Ounce.
To visit the park or to get involved with the park's restoration efforts, contact The Carroll Park Foundation.
Photo credit: Pam Charshee