Blossom time for pears, not yet for apples…

posted in: apples, blossom, mistletoe, orchard, pears | 0

Most of Gloucestershire’s traditional orchards are a mix of apples, pears and some plums – and this becomes particularly obvious, some distance away, at flowering time with the pears flowering first.

We can’t get out much at the moment because of the coronavirus restrictions but here are a few pictures (slideshow below) of the orchard at Standish Court, just south of Gloucester, taken yesterday and showing how the pear blossom picks out the pears from the apples.

In this particular orchard the contrast is heightened by the abundance of mistletoe – which grows readily on apple trees but rarely on pears.  So the apples are covered in mistletoe, the pears are covered in blossom.

Note too that there have been some recent losses – trees blown over – and that this may well be due, at least in part, to too much mistletoe.

 

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GOT AGM postponed

posted in: AGM, meetings | 0

With the ongoing crisis over the coronavirus outbreak and emerging advice to minimise social contact, particularly for older age groups, we have decided to postpone our AGM, which was due to be on Saturday 18th April.

We will reschedule the AGM once the progress of the epidemic is clearer.  On current thinking the new date is likely to be some months away, possibly in the autumn.

We hope everyone stays safe – and do let committee know if you want to raise any questions in the meantime.

Jonathan Briggs
Chair, GOT Committee 17th March 2020

Fish House discussions

Jim Chapman, Anne Mackintosh, Jonathan Briggs, Steve Hurrell and Stuart Smith in front of the ivy-covered Fish House at Longney. Picture by Ann Smith

We had a very useful, and thoughtful, meeting with Stroud Preservation Trust (SPT) at Longney on 2nd February.

The derelict Fish House, at the riverside end of the orchard, is very much on our to-do list – decisions need to be made about its future, whether to leave it derelict or try and get funding to restore it it.

We had asked SPT, who specialise in restoration of historic buildings, for their views.  They had visited the building before, but this was our first joint visit, with Anne Mackintosh and Steve Hurrell of SPT meeting Ann and Stuart Smith, Jim Chapman and Jonathan Briggs of GOT.

Lengthy discussions followed, on site and over lunch afterwards, but as yet we have no firm way forward.  The general consensus was that getting funding would be very difficult, so there is no immediate prospect of restoration.  Other options will have to be considered.  More on this in due course!

Wassail, wassail, all over Gloucestershire

It’s wassailing time in many of our local orchards and we have a number of events already on the website.

You can see the full list here:  https://glosorchards.org/home/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-date=2020-01-01&tribe-bar-search=wassail

Do have a look and come along to one – and if your event isn’t listed let us know and we’ll add it!

The image below is the Stroud Wassail Song – which you may hear at some of the events:

DNA analysis of local varieties – our part in the national review – and an update

We have, as many will know, been taking part in a national initiative using DNA analysis to rationalise and better understand local varieties – how they relate (literally!) to one another and whether some are identical to others.  And, where they are identical to others with differing names (perhaps in other areas) which name should take precedent,

This has been a challenging project, requiring leaf samples from named varieties being sent to labs, particularly East Malling Research centre in Kent, for analysis.  The project is not ours – though several people from the GOT committee are involved and we are significant contributors of samples – it is a national initiative we are helping with.  Updates on progress overall can be found on the FruitID website’s help pages: https://www.fruitid.com/index.html#help – click on Register of LocalCultivars for documentation.

But where, after 3 years or so of work, have we got to in Gloucestershire?

Well, we do now have new and revised lists of Gloucestershire apple and pear varieties – some details of which rock the boat a little – we have fewer ‘Gloucestershire’ varieties than we thought!  But that’s to be expected when everything is compared using DNA – there are bound to be matches and competing claims.

The revised listings (as at the end of November 2019) are now available on the varieties part of our website – https://glosorchards.org/home/fruitvarieties/research/
(Update:  the documentation there has been revised – in December 2019 (Pears) and February 2020 (Apples) since this posting – the original files available on the link have now been deleted and replaced by the updated ones)

Display boards installed at Longney Orchard

Our display boards are now installed in the barn at Longney – following sterling work by Stuart, Pete, Ann and Keith who had to battle quite a lot of mud to get onto the site.  Our thanks to all of them.

These are the boards used at the Folk Museum two years ago – always intended for Longney afterwards, and now they’re there!

Picture by Pete Smith

Juicing at COCO on the Glos/Worcs border

posted in: apple day, apples, Juice, orchard | 0

On Sunday 20th October 2019 members of Conderton and Overbury Community Orchard (COCO) gathered to press some of the juices of their fruit crop.

Lots of the young trees planted by the group were weighed down with fruit which was particularly good to see and the juice was sweet!

Juicing equipment was provided by Kemerton Orchard Workers – the next village – for a small donation to their fund.

For more info on COCO visit http://www.overbury.org/coco

 

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