Apple and pear trees for sale

Tom Adams from Tom Adams Fruit Tree Nursery has contacted GOT to say he still has a wide range of bare root apple and pear trees for sale this season. Tom says:

I run an organic fruit tree nursery in Shropshire and specialise in apple and pear varieties from the borderlands.

I work closely with the Marcher Apple Network and a few year ago Jim Chapman from the National Perry Pear Collection allowed me access to his collection and I now have a wide range of Perry pear trees for sale.

We are nearing the end of the bare root season and I still have quite a few trees left for sale.

If you know of any projects and and individuals that may be interested in such trees please do pass on my details.

Tom’s current stock list is available on this pdf. https://glosorchards.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/tomtheapplemanpearlist.pdf

http://www.tomtheappleman.co.uk   07776 498936

Pruning a variety, but which one? (Juliet’s Orchard Blog January 2024 #2)

Shepperdine Silt

Come the first agreeable afternoon this month I intend to start pruning the apple trees. Pruning is not difficult and whatever you do you are not likely to kill the tree, but good pruning results in higher production and better quality fruit. The mantra is start with dead, damaged, diseased, and crossing but I would prefix that with “why am I going to the effort of pruning it at all”. In my experimental orchard of about 100 varieties I’ve had them long enough to know that there are some I can hardly be bothered with. Result – they don’t get touched until they are overcrowding a variety I like and then they get a severe chop for firewood – Shepperdine Silt was the first to get this honour, a highly vigorous tree with large quantities of disgusting little fruit going rotten before they dropped. Cut at about knee height three years ago it has resprouted vigorously. Remember, I said I cut it off at knee height. Had I done it at ankle height it would still probably have regrown, but it would be from the rootstock below the graft union so it would no-longer be a Shepperdine Silt.

I don’t want to lose any variety in my collection. It is entirely possible that I haven’t discovered the best use for this variety yet. It took me years to discover that Green Two Year Old becomes edible after Christmas and currently is a nice crisp tart green eater, and will go on well for several months eventually becoming yellow. It is fine for cooking too.

All the varieties I planted were thought to be Gloucestershire varieties at the time. Thanks to DNA analysis, where GOT is sending off “our varieties” for testing, we now know that Green Two Year Old matches the variety held in the National Fruit Collection as French Crab, and Shepperdine Silt is Lord Lambourne. All credit to the pioneers of varietal conservation in Gloucestershire, Charles Martell, Richard Fawcett and Alan Watson; without their work more than 20 years ago we wouldn’t have the luxury of testing the varieties which they secured against possible extinction to find out how unique each one really is. Though my Green Two Year Old matches the description of French Crab fine, my Shepperdine Silt can’t be the same high-quality dessert fruit as Lord Lambourne. Summat wrong somewhere

Fermenting nicely, Juliet’s Orchard Blog January 2024 #1

The juice pressed in the autumn and early part of the winter has now all passed its frothing stage and is just bubbling away quietly.

One of life’s little pleasures is to watch the fermentation, the tiny bubbles rising to the neck of the demijohn, or the bubbler airlock filling with gas and pushing a ball of gas up the escape route.

It is good to keep an eye on the process – the level of liquid on the two sides of the bubbler should be different, with the level lower on the jar side than the escape side.

This means that fermentation is occuring as it should and the likely outcome will be cider and not vinegar.

Wassail! Horfield Organic Community Orchard – Saturday 20th January

All are welcome to Wassail and wake up the fruit trees at Horfield Organic Community Orchard

Saturday 20 January 2024, 2 – 4pm

Toast the orchard for a fruitful harvest

Bring ribbons, clouties & shining things to dress the trees

Make merry with Pigsty Morris

Homemade cake and mulled Orchard juice for sale

We Wassail whatever the weather!

Horfield Organic Community Orchard welcome all to Wassail and wake up the fruit trees at Horfield Organic Community Orchard on Saturday 20 January”, says Shannon Smith aka the Apple Tree Lady. “Whatever the weather – help us liven up a wonderful seasonal tradition that celebrates people, community, and nature”.

The ceremony kicks off soon after 2.30pm. Pigsty Morris bring their dancing and merry making to the festivities. Mulled juice and homemade cake for sale.

To find the Orchard (nearest postcode BS7 8JP):
Walk down the lane beside 22 Kings Drive (between Bishop Road and Kellaway Avenue), turn left and it’s the first gate on the right.
OR
Take the lane beside 134 Longmead Avenue until you come to the last gate on the left.

Dogs on leads, please.

More information at www.community-orchard.org.uk or on this link

Orchard Blossom Day Webinars 14th and 21st February

News about Orchard Blossom Day Webinars run by Orchard Network:

We are contacting you as a manager of a publicly accessible orchard, community orchard, or collection in the hope that you will be thinking about holding an Orchard Blossom event this year. 2024 will mark the third Orchard Blossom Day. Last year saw more than fifty sites hold events in the UK alone, and this year we hope to see over one hundred. The Orchard Network is promoting the Day alongside the National Trust and European Orchard Day throughout the European mainland.

Whether you have plans already or are just interested in knowing more, we would like to invite you to join us online for a short webinar to help inspire your event, share your ideas, pick up tips, and publicise events locally and online.

We will cover the following subjects:

1. What is Orchard Blossom Day?

4. Why celebrate and promote orchard blossom?

5. Where and when to have an event – In an orchard, or as part of other events throughout springtime?

6. What activities could you include? See our Publicity Pack and Activities ideas on www.orchardnetwork.org.uk.

7. Add your event to the map

8. Document the Day – take photos and video, use social media to best effect.

8. Q&A – any questions welcome in the chat function or asked at the end.

Steve Oram and the Orchard Network team.

The webinars will be held on:

Wednesday 14th February 14:00 and Wednesday 21st February 18:00

For joining details contact Orchard Network: https://www.orchardnetwork.org.uk/contact

Juliet’s Orchard Blog December 2023

13 December 2023

I finished pressing the cider apples and clearing up today. The Ansell and Hagloe Crab, shaken from the tree onto tarpaulins about a month ago, were still in prime condition.

If you are organised enough to collect the fruit before it falls to the ground, it is much easier doing it this way than collecting dropped fruit that needs vigorous cleaning to get the mud off before it can be scratted. However, it is good to wait till at least some ripe fruit has fallen or it won’t be ready.

All my cider and juice is for personal or family consumption. I’ve got a ramshackle cider-making kit, involving an old garden shredder and various fermenting barrels and demi-johns bought from charity shops over the years.

My little fruit press was bought second-hand at auction and is a very good size for making single-variety juices when you only have one tree of any particular sort. I baulk at the cost of commercial strainer bags and have tried net curtains but they rot and tear quickly and the pulp will squirt out of any hole when under pressure. The best solution I’ve found is old linen tea towels. They allow a free flow of liquid and can be washed and sterilised regularly.

Juliet Bailey

MistleGO! mistletoe survey – ensure your orchard is recorded!

A brand new mistletoe survey has just been launched by the Tree Council and Oxford University, as an app-based citizen science project to assess the state of mistletoe in Britain. Not just where is it, but what quantities exist. This is new, and exciting, as it will help determine what is happening with mistletoe in Britain here – it seems to be spreading more and faster and we need a new study to assess this, and to create a baseline for assessments in future.

Orchard owners across Gloucestershire – and in adjoining Somerset, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gwent – will be familiar with the particular problem locally. Neglected traditional orchards, in the heart of mistletoe’s favoured region, can become overwhelmed by mistletoe – and it can result in the death of tress and accelerate orchard loss. It shouldn’t be like this of course – mistletoe has co-existed in our area and our orchards since at least the early 19th century and probably well before that. But the decline in interest in managing such orchards, coupled with an apparent increase in mistletoe spread, is now a problem.

Which we need to document. Many will recall the National Mistletoe Survey in the 1990s, run jointly by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland and Plantlife, the plant conservation charity. Instigated in 1992 and analysed through the 1990s up to 1999. That was led by GOT’s own Jonathan Briggs, who is an advisor on the new project  The 1990s study, also linked to orchards  but worrying that orchard loss might result in mistletoe loss (a concept that now seems naive!) merely assessed where mistletoe was growing. But not the amount growing The new project aims to address that.  There is a presentation all about it here: https://youtu.be/o6IcGgkcTGk

The assessment is not just about orchards of course – and the new project looks well beyond orchards to the wider habitats where mistletoe thrives. Anecdotal evidence, and some detailed regional local studies outside our area since the 1990s study, have suggested mistletoe is doing very well in all its habitats – orchards, parkland, churchyards, hedgerows etc. Increasing spread may be due to climate change, changes in the bird populations spreading the seeds, or something else entirely. For a discussion of all this have a read of Jonathan Briggs’ 2021 review here.

Ollie Spacey and mistletoe

So… do take part if you can. It is important that we document the abundance of mistletoe in our area!  And the new study does allow you to record multiple hosts trees at once, so no need (phew!) to document every individual orchard tree!

The project is called MistleGO! It is app-based (though you can use the website version if you prefer) and is being masterminded by Oliver Spacey, a PhD student at Oxford.  The app requires you to give location (it will do this automatically), to take a picture of the tree (or group of trees) with mistletoe, give a score of how much mistletoe there is, and, optionally, give additional information on host tree species etc. Full details (summarised below) are on the Tree Council website here and download instructions for the app (you need the Arc123 app first, and then run the MistleGO! app within that)  are here.

Or just scan this QR code.

 

How to take part:

Download the Survey123 app from the App Store or Google Play (or, if on a PC, from Microsoft)

Download the MistleGO! survey via the link above or the QR code

Open the app and click “Continue without signing in”

Click on the MistleGO! survey and start collecting your record!

You can also take part and upload pictures you’ve taken via the web version, but make sure to set your location to where you spotted the mistletoe!

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