Pruning a variety, but which one? (Juliet’s Orchard Blog January 2024 #2)

Shepperdine Silt

Come the first agreeable afternoon this month I intend to start pruning the apple trees. Pruning is not difficult and whatever you do you are not likely to kill the tree, but good pruning results in higher production and better quality fruit. The mantra is start with dead, damaged, diseased, and crossing but I would prefix that with “why am I going to the effort of pruning it at all”. In my experimental orchard of about 100 varieties I’ve had them long enough to know that there are some I can hardly be bothered with. Result – they don’t get touched until they are overcrowding a variety I like and then they get a severe chop for firewood – Shepperdine Silt was the first to get this honour, a highly vigorous tree with large quantities of disgusting little fruit going rotten before they dropped. Cut at about knee height three years ago it has resprouted vigorously. Remember, I said I cut it off at knee height. Had I done it at ankle height it would still probably have regrown, but it would be from the rootstock below the graft union so it would no-longer be a Shepperdine Silt.

I don’t want to lose any variety in my collection. It is entirely possible that I haven’t discovered the best use for this variety yet. It took me years to discover that Green Two Year Old becomes edible after Christmas and currently is a nice crisp tart green eater, and will go on well for several months eventually becoming yellow. It is fine for cooking too.

All the varieties I planted were thought to be Gloucestershire varieties at the time. Thanks to DNA analysis, where GOT is sending off “our varieties” for testing, we now know that Green Two Year Old matches the variety held in the National Fruit Collection as French Crab, and Shepperdine Silt is Lord Lambourne. All credit to the pioneers of varietal conservation in Gloucestershire, Charles Martell, Richard Fawcett and Alan Watson; without their work more than 20 years ago we wouldn’t have the luxury of testing the varieties which they secured against possible extinction to find out how unique each one really is. Though my Green Two Year Old matches the description of French Crab fine, my Shepperdine Silt can’t be the same high-quality dessert fruit as Lord Lambourne. Summat wrong somewhere

Grafting Workshops at Days Cottage 2023

Grafting Workshops at Days Cottage 2023

  • Thursday 30th March 10.00am – 1.00pm
  • Thursday 6th April 10.00am – 1.00pm

Learn the ancient skill of propagating fruit trees by inserting a scion of your chosen variety into a rootstock. Take your tree home at the end of the session.

Rootstocks and a range of heritage variety scions provided. Includes refreshments and homemade flapjacks in our cosy yurt. £45.00

To book please contact applejuice@dayscottage.co.uk or 01452 813602

New Longney plantings

News sent in by Stuart Smith:

Newly planted in the apple collection at Longney are two Upright French, propagated for us by John Teiser from Bulmer’s Adam’s Hill Orchard. These are grafted onto crab stock, whereas most of the apples are M25.

Another difference which you can see in one of the photos is that the guards are scaled down from the original design – the posts are about 1.35m, the sides about 84cm.

The trees are planted in ground that has not had trees before so there is no risk of replant disease, but because space is limited it might be necessary to plant a replacement in the same position.

John told me that there are rootstocks that have been shown to overcome the inhibitory effect – such as the Geneva® (G) range.

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Grafting Workshop, Winterbourne Barn, 18th February 2023

Winterbourne Barn’s annual grafting workshop will take place on Saturday 18th February 2023 from 10am to 4pm.

Come and learn how to graft apple trees on this course under the tuition of Ben Raskin, a previous commercial fruit grower and an enthusiastic, effective and very knowledgeable teacher, now Head of Horticulture at The Soil Association.

Visit www.winterbournebarn.org.uk/events and scroll through until you come to Apple Grafting for details.

Or, to see booking information, go to https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/winterbourne-medieval-barn-trust/t-avvoeav

Tim Andrews on BBC Gardeners World!

(Being broadcast mid or late September 2022)

Tim Andrews (Orchard Revival and GOT) filming with his children for BBC Gardeners World.

At the end of August Tim Andrews, Trustee of GOT and cider producer, was filmed for BBC Gardeners World at Pocketts Orchard, Whitminster. He was questioned about his work and passion in restoring traditional orchards near where in lives in the south of the county. Tim exchanges the fruit from these orchards for pruning, replanting and guards to keep these orchards alive.

He helps lead orchard restoration at Pocketts Orchard, Whitminster with the Cotswold Canals Connected project and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and is about to start a new project with the Ernest Cook Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Gloucestershire in orchards at Halmore.

Contact Tim at tim@orchardrevivial.org.uk if you would like to get involved in any of the orchard restoration.

Look out for the interview on Gardeners’ World in mid-September.

Tim did flag up all the relevant organizations, including GOT, but of course only about 5 minutes is used from several hours of filming!

 

Bud-grafting Workshop at Days Cottage, Brookthorpe, Thursday 21 July 2022

posted in: Past Events | 0

Learn the art of propagating fruit trees by inserting a bud of your chosen variety into a rootstock. Take your tree home at the end of the session.

10am-1pm. Access to rare Gloucestershire varieties.

Cost £40.00 including refreshments.

To book (essential) please contact Dave/Helen directly at applejuice@dayscottage.co.uk or 01452 813602. More details at http://dayscottage.co.uk/courses

Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith at Days Cottage Orchard & Rural Skills Centre offer a rolling programme of pruning (winter), grafting (winter) and bud-grafting
(summer) courses as well as a Blossom Day and Apple Day. Check out their website regularly www.dayscottage.co.uk

Bud-Grafting Workshops with Tim Andrews, 12th July and 13th August

Learn how to propagate apple and pear fruit trees by budding, in a practical workshop.

These skills are useful to anyone who wishes to propagate fruit and ornamental trees in their garden or allotment. We discuss the technical theory behind budding to propagate onto a variety of rootstocks and also go through the practical elements step by step, led by GOT’s committee member and Orchard Revival’s Tim Andrews.

Tuesday 12 July 2022 evening – North Nibley chapel

Saturday 13 August 2022 morning – with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust at Fromebridge at Pocketts Orchard.

These are run by Tim Andrews in association with Farming in Protected Landscapes/Orchard Revival/GOT.

For these workshops, please book via Tim: tim@orchardrevival.co.uk

Bud-Grafting Workshop at Longney, 9th July 2022

Learn how to propagate apple and pear fruit trees by budding, in a practical workshop.

These skills are useful to anyone who wishes to propagate fruit and ornamental trees in their garden or allotment. We discuss the technical theory behind budding to propagate onto a variety of rootstocks and also go through the practical elements step by step.10am-1pm at the barn, led by GOT’s committee member and Orchard Revival’s Tim Andrews.

Participants will be able to take home their own grafted tree.

Cost £30 (funds will help support Longney Orchard and the charity of GOT).

To book (essential), please contact Ann Smith: ann@smithcovell.co.uk who will advise on payment methods (please pay in advance), directions/parking etc.

You can also pay via this PayPal button:


If you pay by PayPal please also email Ann with your details.

For GOT members only. To join, please click here.

Grafting Workshop, 14th March at 6.30pm, Hazleton Village Hall

Grafting Workshop, 14th March 2022 6.30pm – 9pm at Hazleton Village Hall, GL54 4DX

£20 per person

Learn to graft fruit trees in this practical , hands-on session.

Lead by experts from Gloucestershire Orchard Trust, participants will learn the theory, before putting it in to practice on their very
own tree, that can be taken home to the garden.

All tools and tree provided.

For further information contact Martin Hayes via martin@glosorchards.org or on 07900985679

Supported by Farming in Protected Landscapes funding.

A busy winter for Tim

Tim Andrews is always busy.  A dad of two, teacher, GOT committee member and owner of Orchard Revival Cider, it is not hard to fill every spare minute. Below is his summary of orchard activities so far this winter!

Pocketts Orchard, WhitminsterWe have continued to work with Cotswold Canals Connected to look after and restore the traditional orchard at Whitminster next to the canal. A particular highlight was the talk given by Jonathan Briggs, a previous GOT chair, about mistletoe. Nearly all the old trees have their yearly prune and we have cleared quite a bit of excess brambles. We await the results of the DNA testing that took place in the autumn and we hope to do some more grafting at the start of March. There is a lot planned in the summer such as fencing and building a field shelter which should allow us to control the grazing better. Work parties are held on the 2nd Saturday of every month. Please contact Peter Savage peter.savage@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk if you’d like to join us.

Tree plantingWe managed to squeeze in some more tree planting on our own land this winter. Another 24 takes us to 358 trees and 131 varieties all on full standard root stocks. Being well watered in the first year of planting we have only lost 1 tree! However, there was little growth due to the dry summer we had last year and also because I hadn’t mulched enough. There is never enough time to do it all! We have also led the creation of a new community orchard at the Ionian, a wood fired pizza restaurant on the A38 near Berkeley. We donated the trees, led the planting session and the Ionian is providing the land and paying for the guards. The pizza, cake and coffee provided certainly energised the volunteers.

PruningOnly a couple of orchards beyond Pocketts orchard managed to get pruned this year. These were a lovely old cider orchard in Halmore and a small orchard in North Nibley. I would have liked to have done more, but my teaching job gets in the way!

Bird boxesThe best bit about being a teacher is the children. This year a group of students in my year group were really keen to do something to improve the environment at my school Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School. So we held a raffle and have raised enough money to buy the materials for 4 blue tit nesting boxes, 1 kestrel box, 14 swift boxes and a sound system to attract the swifts. The students’ next job is constructing the boxes and erecting them on the school site. I am also working with a bird expert in our village, Peter Kirmond. We are hoping to turn North Nibley into a swift hub by erecting lots of swift nesting boxes. For each bottle or pint of our Save Our Swift cider we donate 20p towards the cause.

GraftingWe are also running a number of grafting workshops thanks to a Farming in Protected Landscapes grant. Martin Hayes and David Lindgren, our joint GOT chairs, will be on hand to help to. We’ll be at North Nibley on 1st March, Avening on 8th March and Hazleton on the 14th March. Email Martin if you are interested in attending martin@glosorchards.org.

Tim Andrews  https://orchardrevival.co.uk/

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