The Lost Orchard by Raymond Blanc (Headline Home, £20)

From 2012 onwards, the famous restaurateur began planting apple trees on a plot of land behind his hotel-restaurant at Great Milton in Oxfordshire. He currently has around 2500 trees and 150 types of apple generating some 30 tonnes annually. Among them are rare varieties such as Lord Lambourne, Chivers Delight and D’Arcy Spice (the last two are both great for baking, apparently) alongside more familiar names such as Cox’s Orange Pippin and Granny Smith. To that bounty Blanc has added 600 trees from his home turf of Franche-Comte in eastern France, as well as pear, quince, apricot, plum, medlar, peach and cherry trees. In The Lost Orchard, published in 2019, he tells the story of a project whose aim is to celebrate and preserve the multiplicity of British apple varieties – and, of course, to keep his restaurant well stocked with the sort of stuff you won’t find on the supermarket shelves.

The Apple Tree by Daphne Du Maurier (from The Birds And Other Stories, Virago Modern Classics, £8.99)

Daphne Du Maurier’s dark short story centres on a retired stockbroker whose wife, Midge, has died suddenly from pneumonia. He becomes obsessed that one of the trees in his orchard – “the third one on the left, a little apart from the rest” – resembles Midge in its pose of “martyred resignation”, the roll of wire circling its base looking like “a grey tweed skirt covering lean limbs” and the branches like a “drooping head poked forward in an attitude of weariness”. As he replays his life with Midge the reader is given a glimpse of the loathing he felt for his long-suffering partner, and the tree which resembles her comes to haunt him as it first blossoms and then bears a crop of rotten apples. A typically menacing tale from Du Maurier, it was published in the same 1952 collection which contained The Birds, later filmed by Alfred Hitchcock.

The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton (Grand Central Publishing, £14.99)

Inspired by life on a Wisconsin orchard, American author Jane Hamilton penned this 2016 novel about, well, life on an orchard. A coming-of-age story centred on Mary Lombard, known as Frankie, it follows her from her early teenage years into young adulthood, and is set against the background of the apple orchard she lives on with her family, her father’s cousin and business partner and Frankie’s cousin, friend and sometime rival Amanda. “The orchard seems to transcend setting to become another character in the novel,” wrote The New York Journal Of Books.