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.