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

posted in: GOT Events, Longney, orchard, pruning | 0

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

posted in: GOT Events, orchard, stone fruit | 0

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

posted in: GOT Events, orchard | 0

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):

 

 

Stone fruit: An orchard conference, August 19th

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The Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project have just announced details of Stone fruit: An orchard conference. Taking place on Saturday 19th August in the lovely setting of Hartpury College, this is an exciting opportunity for orchard enthusiasts, fruit lovers, growers and researchers to come together to network and share experiences, knowledge and resources.

The line up of speakers includes Jim Arbury (RHS), Nick Dunn ( RHS, Frank P Matthews), Helen Stace (Colwall Orchard Group), Jenni Waugh and Professor Maggie Andrews (University of Worcester), Paul Read (Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group) and Dr. Matt Ordige (University of Reading), covering topics as diverse as pests and diseases to social history and local collections. And while the emphasis is on traditional orchards we’ll also be looking at what the future holds for growing and conserving our local stone fruits.

At lunch time you’ll be able to browse an orchard ‘bazaar’ – stalls offering advice and information , including Natural England, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Walcot’s organic nursery, Bewdley cherry expert, Brian Stephens, The People’s Trust for Endangered Species and local orchard and conservation groups. There will also be a chance to look at Gloucestershire Orchard Trust’s pioneering LOMIS orchard mapping system, now being trialled in their orchards.

Do bring along your own stone fruit to add to a display table – let’s see how many varieties we can show !

Full details on our Events page here or go direct to the booking page at Eventbrite here.

Creative Camping at Longney

posted in: disability, Longney, orchard, schools | 0

Our Longney Orchards were host this month to Creative Camping, run by a Gloucestershire-based project running innovative children’s services projects.

The camping project enables disabled and non-disabled teenagers to spend the weekend together under canvas, encouraging self agency, positive risk taking, cooperation, friendship and inclusion. And, in this location, also helping build understanding and appreciation of traditional orchards! Here are a few pictures of the camp this month – more are planned.

You can find out more about Creative Camping and Creative Sustainability CIC (who run the camps) on their website here: http://www.cscic.org/info/

‘Creative Camping is not just an event is a place close to my heart. Before going to creative camping I was a shy a non-confident person who was too sacred to talk to new people …’

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