Countryfile’s Adam Henson, a Gloucestershire farmer himself, joined GOT’s Jonathan Briggs and Tim Andrews in tackling excess mistletoe in an orchard at Moreton Valence. Jonathan talked to Adam about mistletoe issues and Tim brought along the kit to do the work and talked Adam through the process. And passed round some of his cider afterwards.
The whole piece lasted for about 6 minutes – which is not bad of this sort of programme!
You can view the whole programme (the orchard section starts at about 13 minutes in) at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001gcmv/countryfile-rockingham-castle
There are some screenshots below:
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, Whitminster We 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 email@example.com 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.
Graftingmartin@glosorchards.org.We 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
Tim Andrews https://orchardrevival.co.uk/
We can’t get out much at the moment because of the coronavirus restrictions but here are a few pictures (slideshow below) of the orchard at Standish Court, just south of Gloucester, taken yesterday and showing how the pear blossom picks out the pears from the apples.
In this particular orchard the contrast is heightened by the abundance of mistletoe – which grows readily on apple trees but rarely on pears. So the apples are covered in mistletoe, the pears are covered in blossom.
Note too that there have been some recent losses – trees blown over – and that this may well be due, at least in part, to too much mistletoe.