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heritage apples

Mrs Grant tied herself to her favourite apple tree to stop her husband bulldozing it down. Now, as Spectrum's Sage Forest discovered, she has a variety named in her honour - Mrs Grant's Last Stand, grown from cuttings from her old tree.

Robyn and Robert Guyton have been scouring Southland's original, fast-disappearing orchards, taking cuttings and collecting stories. It's grafting time and a team of helpers cut, splice and bind scion wood from trees up to 150 years old onto new rootstock. They want to see the proven Southland survivors live on in parks, schools, backyards and roadsides.

Robyn's building a database of the apples they've found: black, pink, white, yellow, striped, tall, tiny, cooking, eating, sweet, spicy - much more than you'd find in a supermarket and more nutritious, they say.

When the splicing is done, hundreds of new trees are labeled according to the orchard they came from and planted in prepared beds. Their 2 acre Riverton property is full of trees. Now they're spilling out into the community and around the country through the 'copyleft' concept of spreading information, rather than copyright.