Juliet’s Orchard Blog November 2023

A new series of posts from GOT trustee Juliet Bailey.

30 November 2023

It’s a frosty day.

I had intended scratting and pressing cider with the varieties Hagloe Crab and Ansell, both picked about 10 days ago, but the hosepipe feeding the waterbath for washing them had been left out all night, and not a dribble was getting through.

So I went down to the orchard to see what was still on the trees.

Plenty of Lemon Roy, though more than half of them were on the floor, but all now safely gathered in. Charles Martell’s Native Apples of Gloucestershire has them down as a culinary variety, but I find them pleasant eating, crisp with a good balance of sweet and acidity, even if not very aromatic.

I got my first decent crop from a young Kernel Underleaf tree. This has to be a cider variety, sweet enough, but with a cardboard texture to the flesh and a thick skin. Still, it ripens late, so could be a good one to have to spread the load of processing through the season. If you were wondering what a “tip-bearer” looks like, this is it. The photo shows fruit dangling at the tip of a long twig which bends under the weight.

Finally, I picked the remaining Elmore Pippins. These ripen in store and will be a good little eater in January.

I hope to get round to picking the Green 2-year Olds this week, then the birds are welcome to the rest.

Juliet Bailey

Longney Apple Harvest Saturday 21st October

from 10:00

Apples picked in October will contribute to the Trust’s coffers, as the fruit will be sold to Trust Juice … and you’ll also receive some free apple juice in return.

 

If the access track is still navigable in November then there may also be a fruit harvesting day on Saturday 18th November.

Identification of fruit varieties 2023

The DNA analysis project run via FruitID is now in its 8th year.  This year the scheme offers DNA analysis at £32.50 plus VAT per sample for Apples, Pears, and Cherries.

If you would like to participate, please go to www.fruitID.com/#help where you can find the Announcement and Timetable, a Request Form to ask for sample bags, detailed collection guidance, results from previous years, and an Introduction to DNA Fingerprinting.

Also at the FruitID website Muriel Smith’s National Apple Register for the UK is now available as a digital download.

To find it, go to www.fruitID.com/#help then click on ‘Pomonas’ from the list on the left and look for the 1971 entry. Thanks to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species for funding the digitisation of this great resource.

Blossom time events late April and early May

Blossom Day at Days Cottage

Sunday April 23rd 1.00 – 4.00 – details coming soon at dayscottage.co.uk

Hartpury Orchard Centre Blossom Day

Sunday 23 April 2023 12 noon-5pm Blossom day, enjoy a picnic in the orchard. Bar will be open.  https://www.hartpuryheritage.org.uk/events/blossom-day-event/

Big Apple Blossom time

Sunday 30 April and Monday 1 May 2023 at Much Marcle. https://www.bigapple.org.uk/blossomtime-putley/

Other Blossom opportunities

GOT’s Longney Orchard by the River Severn is pretty when the plum, pear and apple blossom is out. See access information here:  https://glosorchards.org/home/got-orchards/

Local community orchard groups such as Horfield Organic Community Orchard (Bristol) and Wolds End Orchard (Chipping Campden) often hold a lovely blossom event. Check their websites soon!

The Vale of Evesham has a blossom trail. https://www.visitevesham.co.uk/about-vale/blossom-trail/

Orchard Network Blossom Day Resources

https://www.orchardnetwork.org.uk/orchard-blossom-day

New Longney plantings

News sent in by Stuart Smith:

Newly planted in the apple collection at Longney are two Upright French, propagated for us by John Teiser from Bulmer’s Adam’s Hill Orchard. These are grafted onto crab stock, whereas most of the apples are M25.

Another difference which you can see in one of the photos is that the guards are scaled down from the original design – the posts are about 1.35m, the sides about 84cm.

The trees are planted in ground that has not had trees before so there is no risk of replant disease, but because space is limited it might be necessary to plant a replacement in the same position.

John told me that there are rootstocks that have been shown to overcome the inhibitory effect – such as the Geneva® (G) range.

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GOT in the news #3: Martin and Tim on Youtube

This is a video filmed in GOT’s orchards at Longney:  This is the summary from the CPRE page:

An interview with Tim Andrews, County Director of CPRE Gloucestershire, and Martin Hayes. Martin is an expert orchardist and key member of the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust. The interview explores why orchards are special to Martin and Gloucestershire, and the work Martin does to reverse their decline. Around 75% of orchards have been lost in Gloucestershire in the last 50 years.

The interview was filmed in Longney, near Gloucester at an orchard owned by the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust. CPRE Gloucestershire is presently helping to restore around 10 acres of orchard at near Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

Tim Andrews directed, filmed and edited the video – it was his first try at doing this.  And it is rather good, though Tim says ‘improvements are planned for next time’.

 

Longney Orchard News

This picture, taken by Ann, shows Stuart Smith after the planting work

Ann Smith writes:

Today we planted more Gloucestershire plum trees at GOT’s Longney Orchard and replaced one or two apple trees. The soil is good quality and drains well.

Sheep continue to graze the orchards. The flocks of fieldfares and redwings were enjoying the fallen apples.

A tattered red admiral butterfly warmed itself on the barn brickwork in full sun on this mild November day. It was rather tattered, weary from a long year chased by birds or perhaps it was tipsy from the fermented fruit! Will it survive the winter? They are known to enter a dormant state and the barn would certainly provide shelter.

The red admiral picture (right) and the fieldfare pictures below were taken by John Fletcher, who is a regular birdwatcher at Longney.

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BBC feature on local orchards

The BBC news website featured traditional orchards last week, timed to coincide with Apple Day.

It highlighted the work being carried out to conserve orchards, and traditional varieties, locally and regionally in Somerset and Gloucestershire  The article also highlighted the work of PTES and the Orchard Network nationally.

For Gloucestershire both GOT and the Wildlife Trust were mentioned, discussing local sites and the work being done to find and conserve local varieties.

For the full article click here:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-63298873

Pictures from Days Cottage Apple Day

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The perry pear painting on the bench is by Chris Bingle, whose work can be seen at subtlecolours.com

Apple Days are here

Have you been to an Apple Day this season yet?  Many of our local events have happened already (click on our Past events tab to see these), but some are still to come.

National Apple Day was launched in 1990 by Common Ground. Their aspiration was to create a calendar custom, an autumn holiday. From the start, Apple Day was intended to be both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too. It has also played a part in raising awareness in the provenance and traceability of food.

The concept was initially set as 21st October but, in practice, the date is variable depending on which area you’re in and what orchard group is doing what.

It has become incredibly successful over the 30 years since – with events taking place all over the country organised by local orchard and apple groups, across a range of dates throughout October.

For information on Apple Day events around the country visit https://ptes.org/campaigns/traditional-orchard-project/orchard-network/apple-day/

https://www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day/

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