Longney Pruning Workshops, February and March 2022

Martin Hayes is leading a series of informal pruning workshops at GOT’s lovely Longney Orchard (south of Gloucester by the River Severn).

These are for GOT members only.   Cost will be £10 per head.

Please book one session (booking essential) through Ann Smith ann@smithcovell.co.uk who can advise on payment methods.  You can also pay via this PayPal button:


If you pay by PayPal please also email Ann with details of which session you’re booking.

Dates: Mondays 14 February, 7 March, 14 March.  Noon-3pm

Martin will go through Health and Safety and we would need everyone to sign in with an emergency contact phone number please. Bring own tools, gloves and boots. Martin is very knowledgeable and there’s always something to learn and share. Stone fruit will not be pruned – only May to September on dry days for plums and cherries to reduce the chance of silver leaf disease.

We look forward to seeing you! If you are not a member and would like to attend, please join GOT at https://glosorchards.org/home/join-us-got-membership/

If you are a community orchard group you get a year’s free membership. Please enquire via Ann.

 

 

New Traditional Orchard at Wallsworth Hall- fruitful collaboration in action!

Wallsworth Hall, an imposing C18 house, just north of Gloucester at Twigworth, is home to one of the UK’s most important national charities promoting conservation through the medium of art – in all its many forms. Established in 1988, Nature in Art (N in A) is now a unique centre, with an expanding membership and visitor base.  It is dedicated, among other aims, to show how the visual and aesthetic qualities of art can help support ecology and encourage participation in realising common objectives.

The large garden area surrounding Wallsworth Hall provides space for many sculptures and a site for a busy Education Centre with outreach work with schools, art groups and visiting artists in residence. The garden is also very popular with visitors, with circular walks and picnic places, and it has an excellent range of wildlife. However, the far end of the garden had been left largely untouched and had become overgrown and inaccessible.  N in A’s Trustees decided to restore this area – of around a 1/4 acre – by establishing a small orchard of local varieties of apples to supplement some older fruit trees around the partially walled boundary.

Following enquiries from N in A’s staff, contact with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT) was made which led to discussions on how plans for the new orchard could be made and put in train. GOT (and N in A) member Keith Turner agreed to collaborate with N in A Director Simon Trapnell and the Education Officer Catherine Bunn in drawing up practical plans. These included using N in A volunteers first, to clear, by hand, the area of its jungle of briars, nettles and invasive elder; and then to prepare the new area for planting up to 15 fruit trees, mainly apples. The emphasis would be on heritage varieties – a mixture of culinary, cider and dessert types, which would be sourced from GOT member Rob Watkins’ Lodge Farm Trees nursery near Berkeley.  A mix of native grass and wildflower seed will be broadcast under the trees to augment the existing flora and so form a natural sward under the trees for wildlife conservation, especially habitat for bees, butterflies and moths.

Sufficient ground was ready by autumn 2019 for the first trees to be planted, but continued wet conditions delayed planting until early 2020. These trees soon established and made good growth in 2020. Meanwhile, the remainder of the area was prepared for clearing and planting which took place the following winter.  Consisting of grafts on M25, MM106 and MM111 rootstocks, all were local Gloucestershire or regional Three Counties varieties/cultivars. Examples include Ashmeads Kernel, Longney Russet, Arlingham Schoolboy, Yellow Willy etc.  One perry pear has also been included in the mix for a special spot in the new orchard.

The plantings were completed in early 2021 with a total of 16 trees well established, but leaving a legacy of further work by N in A volunteers to maintain the new orchard over the next few years. There was, very likely, an earlier orchard at Wallsworth Hall which would have provided fruit for the house and its residents. So it’s very satisfying that the new trees will restore these links and again be part of the future history of this lovely house.

Keith Turner  6/1/22

More information on Nature in Art: Located at Twigworth off the A38, near Gloucester GL2 9PA.  https://natureinart.org.uk/

Berry Hill Community Orchard Wassail 14th January 2022

Berry Hill Community Orchard Wassail

Friday 14th January 2022

4pm song, dance, blessing and festivities up on the orchard site.

Followed by dancing from cheese, apple, bread and beverages at the Globe Inn.

Please bring along instruments, festive wear and battery lights/torches.

GL16 7BZ

 

Pruning workshop December 2021

Eight GOT members attended Martin Hayes’ pruning workshop at GOT’s Longney orchard on Thursday 16th December 2021.

There was time to discuss members’ individual orchard queries and to learn about a range of issues including planting, rootstocks and guarding trees.

Trust Juice and cider was available to purchase.

The resident pheasant kept an eye on the proceedings from a safe distance from Martin’s dog!

Photos kindly taken by Jacquie Sarsby.

 

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Martin visits Rockness Orchard

Martin Hayes, our advice-giving orchardist, reports on a recent visit to Rockness Orchard, a long-established community orchard GOT has recently become involved with:

A great day at Rockness Community Orchard ‘Stan’s Patch’.

The Gloucestershire Orchard Trust recently took the Orchard under its wings and a great partnership is ahead!

Fabulous cakes and biscuits with tea.

An orchardist’s life is tough!

And some appreciative feedback:

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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Little Owl boxes (re)installed at Longney

The Little Owl boxes in our Longney Orchards have now all been erected in trees around the site, including the box whose original tree fell in strong winds earlier this year.

The boxes, kindly donated by the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group, were mounted on fruit trees and a pollarded willow at GOT’s Longney Orchards.

Thanks to Stuart and Pete who installed them all and to John Fletcher who advised on locations. They are level, even though they may not look so in the pictures!

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Creative Sustainability’s Longney Camp 2020

Here’s an inspiring report on this year’s Longney Orchard camp from the Creative Sustainability organisation. This local Community Interest Company organise (amongst many other things) camping weekends and day camps for disadvantaged young people, including disabled, refugees and asylum seekers.

Most of their camping programme had to be cancelled this year because of the Covid restrictions so the Longney event was particularly important this time.

Some quotes from the report:

‘I haven’t been into the countryside since I came to England, I don’t know where to go, whether I am welcome or safe or whether I have permission, or where I can walk’

‘This is the first sunset I’ve seen since coming to England’

‘..I found myself daydreaming of home before it became unsafe, for the first time. Normally I have nightmares. It’s being here at the orchard. It’s so peaceful – I slept well.’

‘I can see my home all around…(he pointed around the orchard as he spoke) these fruit trees, some crops, the muddy track, homes where my family, friends, aunties and uncles live, someone sleeping under the trees, the smell of cooking, goats here, chickens over there, camels and cows here’

‘It made me remember to live’

You can read the full report below or click here to download it. For more information on Creative Sustainability click here.

Click to access Report-for-Orchard-Trust.pdf

 

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