The sheep return to Longney

posted in: blossom, grazing, Longney, orchard | 0

Stuart Smith writes to say: that the sheep have returned to the orchard after spending winter at home on the farm. The lambs are a few weeks old, so not at the leaping for joy stage, but seemed to be enjoying the grass and the sun on their backs. Studies have shown that sheep recognise human faces, and this one seems to know our volunteer from last year!

If you leave the track in Long Tyning, you can walk beneath a canopy of apple blossom. The most common varieties here are Bramley’s Seedling and Newton Wonder – both cookers.

Joan Morgan says that when apple trees began to be included in formal gardens by the Victorians, and the blossom came to be valued as much as the fruit, “some of the grandest spring displays were to be found on the prolific cookers”.

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Orchard Blossom Day – a new annual celebration

Our friends at the UK Orchard Network have recently announced that they have a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help launch a new annual celebration – Orchard Blossom Day.

This will be:

An annual celebration of fruit trees, flowers and food. See buzzing pollinators, eat and drink tasty orchard products, and enjoy the fresh spring air

Few British sights are as uplifting or evocative as fruit tree boughs heavy with spring blossom, and nowhere is this more in evidence than in orchards. Partly man-made and partly natural, orchards are a meeting point of both worlds.

The Orchard Network are launching a new annual celebration called Orchard Blossom Day. Sites across the country will host events with activities like tours, produce fairs, picnics and practical crafts.

The ‘day’ is set as the last Friday in April, this year the 29th, but events can be throughout the blossom season. There are events taking place across Europe centred on the same date.

UK Orchard Network are inviting orchard groups and enthusiasts people to arrange orchard blossom events orchards – which can be promoted as part of the new venture

Blossom events will be publicised on social media channels, so do get in touch with Orchard Network and let them know what you’re doing.

@UK_Orch_Network

#OrchardBlossomDay

#OrchardsEverywhere

#BlossomWatch

Instagram: UK_Orchard_Network

More information is available at https://ptes.org/campaigns/traditional-orchard-project/orchard-network/orchard-blossom-day/

Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage, Sunday 24th April 2022

Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage Orchard & Rural Skills Centre, Sunday 24th April 2022 1.00pm-4.00pm

Brookthorpe near Gloucester dayscottage.co.uk

Come and enjoy our orchards in blossom – picnic under the trees and immerse yourself in the fragrance of apple blossom. Help us celebrate springtime in our traditional orchards and their biodiversity.

Apple juice, cider, perry, orchard honey and trees for sale. Hot spiced apple juice and home made cakes. Orchard information and live music.

Limited parking in field.

Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith are very knowledgeable about orchards, so full of advice!

The mason bee season opens at Longney!

The mason bees are back at Longney.

Stuart Smith writes that the advice from the BeeGuardian project was to put the red mason bee cocoons in their release boxes as soon as they arrive.
They came on 31st March and were in place the same afternoon!

 

On the right-hand side of the tree guard is a nest tube holder, already stocked with a dozen cardboard nest tubes.

Blossom at Longney

Stuart Smith spotted this beautiful blossom in Bollow Orchard at Longney while preparing for the arrival of the red mason bee cocoons at the end of March.

 

This particular tree is a unique perry pear, meaning that its DNA fingerprint does not match any other perry pear in the National Collection at Hartpury.

 

Jim Chapman says this suggests that just the seedling rootstock remains and the grafted perry variety has died – but at least it makes a lovely show!

 

 

Big Apple’s Blossomtime weekend 1st and 2nd May, Putley

Big Apple are planning a Blossomtime event over the bank holiday weekend of Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd May.

This will be centred on the village of Putley around Putley Parish Hall.

Details are still being finalised.

For more information on this and other planned 2022 Big Apple events visit their website:

https://www.bigapple.org.uk/

Wolds End Orchard Blossom Weekend, 30th April-2nd May, Chipping Campden

Wolds End Orchard Blossom Weekend is not far away!  Join the Wolds End orchard volunteers over the spring bank holiday weekend from Saturday 30 April to Monday 2 May to mark the start of this year’s growing season.

Come and enjoy what we hope will be a breath-taking pink and white mosaic across our 94 fruit trees, sitting within nearly three acres of ridge and furrow landscape on the edge of historic Chipping Campden.

In Japan, spring blossom is celebrated with the traditional custom of Hanami, which means ‘flower viewing’ and is an opportunity to take in the beauty of flowers. It’s a practice of restoration, an invitation to connect with plants and the soil; time to give yourself space to breathe, go slowly, walk mindfully and just be in the moment.

From late March to mid May the blossoms of apple, pear, plum, walnut and quince burst onto the scene: expect to enjoy everything from gossamer white through soft pinks and onto deep vermillion.

It’s not just about the fruit trees. We also have a ‘Shadow Orchard’ in the form of boundary hedges where you’ll also spot a variety of blossom including hawthorn, blackthorn, elder and wild damson as well as pussy willow catkins and maybe even some early wild rose.

The National Trust has a great Blossom Activity Pack on its website as part of it’s #BlossomWeekend activities.

The gate will open from 10.30am-4pm each day. Everyone is welcome – just pop in and have a wander around.

Note: the orchard is very uneven underfoot so ensure you wear appropriate footwear. Also, no dogs please as the orchard is a nature reserve as well as a working orchard.

Address:  entrance on corner of Aston Road and Back Ends, GL55 6AB. Parking: in the High Street, Campden School Car Park or public parking bays on Back Ends – no parking on site. 

Easter news from Longney

The pears (and the blackthorn and plums) are now in bloom, and we’ll post pictures of some of those soon, but today here are some more general pictures and news, highlighting recent work by students from the Apperley Centre in Stonehouse who visit regularly on Mondays and Wednesday mornings:

Martin Hayes, who supervises the students on site, explains the scarecrows:

Meet Sheila and Madoc, the Orchard Guardians or, their more common name, scarecrows.  These two handsome beasts were made by students from the Apperley Centre in Stonehouse.  They are guarding the wildflower seeds we have planted.  Last years wildflowers were eaten by the sheep that were let in when ramblers left the gates open!!

Other pictures below include the new bug hotel, also built with student help, some general views of hedgerow blossom and, the recently fallen ancient willow pollard, dead for some time but toppled by winter storms:

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Spring! Blossom time in orchards soon.

posted in: blossom, orchard, varieties | 0

Lockdown beginning to relax, and blossom time very soon.  Lots to look forward to.

And there’s blossom already underfoot (careful where you tread!).  Here are some pics of the wild daffodils at Vell Mill Meadow, which is also (since 2011) an orchard, near Dymock.

It’s a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Reserve, primarily for being one of the best local daffodil meadows (for which the area is famous).

But it’s also perfect for an orchard so GWT planted it up 10 years ago, with wide-spacing to keep the daffodil interest.

There’s a mix of local varieties of apple, pear and plum.

Pears and plums will be flowering very soon…

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Mason Bees return to Longney

posted in: bees, blossom, Longney, orchard | 0

Despite the lockdown this year’s consignment of mason bee pupae has been installed at Longney.  Transporting livestock is, of course, permitted!

13 bee boxes containing a total of around 300 tubes, plus 4 release boxes containing around 200 pupae were placed a few weeks ago (in time for most of the blossom).

No pictures from this season, but here are a few from last year, showing Keith Turner installing the boxes and tubes:

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