Apple Days 2017 #3: Some seasonal pictures from Longney

Some pictures (and words) from Martin Hayes, documenting some of the recent work at our Longney Orchards.

We (particularly Martin) have been hard at work here this season – if you came to the orchards over the summer do come again soon and see what we have been up to in the interim.

Educational days have become much easier with our own orchards . With help from NE , TCTOP and Trust Juice we have had some great days.

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Apple Days 2017 #1: Days Cottage on the Radio

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Harvest time is here and we’re in the middle of Apple Day Celebrations!

National Apple Day (established by Common Ground back in 1990) is set as the 21st October. But, as many orchard events effectively compete with each other, Apple Day celebrations are often spread over several weekends in October. So some have already happened, others take place over the next week or so (school half term).  For events near you try contacting community orchards in your area – our website listing hasn’t yet been updated but you can access the old list here: https://glosorchards.org/home/localorchards/

Apple Day at Days Cottage was last weekend and involved apples, bees, music, spoon-making and needle-felting!  BBC Radio Gloucestershire (Fay Hatcher’s programme) were on hand to record the celebrations and you can hear an extract below:

 

 

Topping, chipping, weeding, mulching – tidying up at Longney

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It’s the middle of our working weekend at Longney – which aims to clear away all the piles of prunings from the last year or so, get the orchards mown, weeding around the new plantings and mulching them with chippings (made from the prunings).

Topping is well underway, as local contractor Richard Dyer has already mown what can be reached in between the pruning piles.  So today, Saturday, the main task for our volunteers was clearing those prunings:  Extracting the cut branches from their piles (some overgrown with nettles), cutting them up where necessary and then feeding them to the chipper, hired for the weekend and paid for by our friends at Trust Juice (thanks Trust Juice).

Plus weeding around some of the new plantings in preparation to using some of the chippings as a mulch.  And some burning of material too difficult to chip. And retention of some larger wood for habitat creation.

How did it go today? Very well indeed. A good turn-out, a lot of effort, and a definitely obvious result – Long Tyning (the orchard we were in today) already looks very different.  And there’ll be more action tomorrow (Sunday 1st October) – turn up from 10am if you want to help…

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Fruit identification – what variety is that?

It’s that time of year again – when people start collecting, harvesting or simply noticing, fruit and quite often want to know variety of apple, pear etc they are picking or eating or looking at.

Is it unusual, rare, common? What is the best use of it – cider, perry, dessert, or cooking? And, if you have a lot, what are the keeping qualities?

There are many resources that can help – both within and outside GOT – and a few are listed below.

Firstly it’s worth noting that we are due to develop our ‘Varieties’ website at glosorchards.org/home/fruitvarieties soon – but unfortunately not in time for harvest this year.  However there are some archived resources from our old website available via that site – for a full index of those click here.

Secondly there are people who can help direct including:

  • Perry pears – contact Jim Chapman jjrchapman@btinternet.com (small charge)
  • Apples – the Marcher Apple Network www.marcherapple.net are experts – (proforma needed or visit at the shows they
    attend, including Malvern Autumn Show, Big Apple Harvest Time Weekend etc). (small charge)
  • Brogdale Horticultural Trust (by post, charge) http://www.brogdalecollections.org/
  • Apple Afternoon at Days Cottage – 8th October (details here) or bring small amounts to Stroud Farmers Markets
    on Saturdays to their stall

Or, thirdly, you could try DIY id online at Fruitid.com a national fruit self-identifying website with high quality photographs, more added continually and aiming to eventually have all tree fruits.

And, last but by no means least, you can look up local fruit varieties in GOT’s own publications, including

  • Pears of Gloucestershire and Perry Pears of the Three Counties, by Charles Martell (2013) and
  • Native Apples of Gloucestershire by Charles Martell (2014)

Both are available on our bookshop page here.

 

 

 

Stone Fruit Conference – a short report

The stone fruit conference at Hartpury College in August was a great success – well-attended and with wide-ranging talks.

Jim Arbury, Fruit Specialist at RHS Wisley, introduced us to plums and cherries, covering traditional and modern types and varieties, Helen Stace of Colwall Orchard Group told us the history of Colwall’s orchards, the entrepreneurial approach once taken by the local landowner in establishing orchards and fruit-processing around the whole village, and the recent work by the Orchard Group to restore the orchards.

Nick Dunn, from Frank P Matthews Trees for Life, reviewed stone fruit pests and diseases and new approaches to treatment. Jenni Waugh gave a lively talk on the importance of Pershore in plum production with particular emphasis on ‘how the Pershore Plum won the Great War’ (via jam for the troops!).

Paul Read, Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group, discussed the problems of stone fruit identification, particularly the opportunities from the new digital plum library and the FruitID website and Matt Ordidge, University of Reading, talked about the role of local collections and the context of the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, now curated by University of Reading..

All this against a background of many stalls and displays manned by organisations and individuals from across the three counties and beyond.

The day demonstrated how valuable these get-togethers can be in getting participants up-to-date, briefed on the wider picture, meeting and networking and generally enjoying themselves.

Thanks to Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project for organising it, particularly Karen Humphries and her orchard champion volunteers. And to Hartpury College for an excellent venue. The pictures here are courtesy of Karen.

Gloucestershire Plum & Damson Trees for Sale

Sweet Damson, Walcot Nursery

Gloucestershire Orchard Trust is delighted to have collaborated with Walcot Organic Nursery, near Pershore, to sell an increasing range of Gloucestershire plum and damson trees.

The trees are on Brompton rootstock (vigorous, required for Countryside Stewardship and/or where cattle graze) and on St. Julien A rootstocks (less vigorous).

Some of these varieties are extremely rare, so this is a unique opportunity, not to be missed!

For more details please visit http://walcotnursery.co.uk/sections/gloucestershire-plums.html

 

 

Wick Court Workshops – Reading and Pruning

Last weekend we ran two workshops at the same time, both at Wick Court, Arlingham.  Martin Hayes led a workshop on the skills of summer pruning on old and young trees in the orchards around Wick Court.  At the same time Jim Chapman led a group around the estate discussing how to ‘read’ the orchards, combining historical research and field observations to work out how the orchards developed over the centuries.

Here’s a brief slide show of some of the day’s activities:

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Thanks to the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project for sponsoring these events.

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Wyre Forest Cherry Orchard Visit

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GOT members and volunteers enjoyed a fascinating afternoon at the Wyre Forest on Saturday 22 July 2017 by kind invitation of hosts John & Linda Iles at Unclys Farm near Bewdley.

During the visit we saw oak woodlands of varying management and some 100 year old cherry orchards with abundant wildlife.

Wildlife on the day included a hobby chasing young housemartins, fallow deer plus wildlflowers cow wheat (Melampyrum pratense) and narrow-leaved helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia).

The site is part of Ruskin’s Guild of St. George www.guildofstgeorge.org.uk . It is run as a Community Land Trust, with social enterprise and community involvement at its heart.

 

One of the neighbouring orchards formed part of a national ecological study (one of six traditional orchards) by Natural England which shows traditional orchards are a rich habitat for biodiversity (home to up to 1800 species of fauna and flora). Orchards have since become national priority habitat.

 

 

Thanks to funding by the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project and Heritage Lottery Fund:

 

Orchard Exhibition at Gloucester Life Museum

Today we launched our Orchards Exhibition at Gloucester Life Museum, where it will stay until just before Christmas. The launch party was a modest affair, but was attended by many of our most enthusiastic supporters! This is the first time we have created an exhibition of this sort and we are hopeful this approach will enthuse an even wider audience than usual.

We are very grateful to Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project and the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the exhibition and to Gloucester Life Museum for hosting it.  You can see it at the Museum until mid-December, and after that some of the panels will transfer to the barn at our orchards in Longney. Some pictures from today’s launch follow below as a slide show.

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GOT’s new logo

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We now have a new logo (and we hope you like it!)!  Designed for us by Gloucester-based designer Jane Bromham the image aims to visually represent orchards themselves – both trees and fruit – and activity –the need for active management and the social opportunities this provides. The exact colour scheme is not yet finalised, but it will usually be in shades of green. Though variants will be possible – the three versions below, for example, are from the display boards for our new exhibition in Gloucester Life Museum (being launched on June 30th – details on our Events pages here):

 

 

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