Hartpury Orchard Centre Open afternoon, 17th September 2022

Open afternoon at Hartpury Orchard Centre (National Perry Pear Centre)

Saturday 17 September 2022 with perry pear display and refreshments.

There will be more details nearer the time on this website or the Hartpury website. 

The tap bar should be open all summer from noon on Sundays. But check before setting off.

The orchards, wetlands with bird-hide/nature reserve are open all year round.

GOT acquires Henley Bank Orchard

We are delighted to announce that we have now completed the acquisition of Henley Bank Orchard, at Brockworth.  It has been a long process transferring the ownership from the developers, but is now finalised!

The orchard, adjoining the new developments along Mill Lane Brockworth, is to be managed as a community orchard rather than public open space, and we will be working up plans for management and access soon.

The 2.5 acres (1 hectare) site, with many mature perry pears, is very overgrown at present so we are not encouraging visitors at all yet, but will be taking members there after our AGM in Brockworth on 14th May.

The pictures below were taken in March 2021.

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Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage, Sunday 24th April 2022

Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage Orchard & Rural Skills Centre, Sunday 24th April 2022 1.00pm-4.00pm

Brookthorpe near Gloucester dayscottage.co.uk

Come and enjoy our orchards in blossom – picnic under the trees and immerse yourself in the fragrance of apple blossom. Help us celebrate springtime in our traditional orchards and their biodiversity.

Apple juice, cider, perry, orchard honey and trees for sale. Hot spiced apple juice and home made cakes. Orchard information and live music.

Limited parking in field.

Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith are very knowledgeable about orchards, so full of advice!

Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces course, Thursday 18 August 2022

At Sue Gibson School of Gardening, May Cottage, Slimbridge.

Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces course on Thursday 18 August 2022.

Cost £75 including lunch (10% discount to GOT members).

Sue Gibson School of Gardening. https://www.iteachgardening.co.uk/

For details/to book email: info@iteachgardening.co.uk

Blossom at Longney

Stuart Smith spotted this beautiful blossom in Bollow Orchard at Longney while preparing for the arrival of the red mason bee cocoons at the end of March.

 

This particular tree is a unique perry pear, meaning that its DNA fingerprint does not match any other perry pear in the National Collection at Hartpury.

 

Jim Chapman says this suggests that just the seedling rootstock remains and the grafted perry variety has died – but at least it makes a lovely show!

 

 

Grafting courses at Days Cottage, March 6th and 17th 2022

Days Cottage are running two grafting courses in March:

– Sunday 6th March 10.00am – 1.00pm
– Thursday 17th March 10.00am – 1.00pm

Learn the 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.

Booking essential.

Cost £40.00

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

More info at http://dayscottage.co.uk/courses

Perry Pear Planting at Boyce Court, Dymock

Our committee co-chair David Lindgren and incoming treasurer Andy Ellis were out last month planting some replacement perry pears at Boyce Court, near Dymock.

There’s a long-established avenue of pear trees there, on the drive leading to the house.  These trees, several hundred years old, are well-known (in the perry pear world) as they feature in the 1963 book Perry Pears by L C Luckwill and A Pollard.

The illustration in the book shows a healthy avenue of trees but now, 60 or so years later, many have gone and most of the survivors are decaying or dead.  Some are still productive though, and David has used the fruit for a limited edition Perry called “The Avenue”.

David and Andy’s efforts, planting some Thorn perry pears (one of the old varieties originally planted in the avenue), will help reverse the decline and keep the tradition of the avenue going.

For more pictures see below and for information on the site and varieties do visit David’s blog about it at https://www.bushelpeck.co.uk/news-and-natter/2022/1/29/z42onimf0bkf10brye6296cphdoekv 

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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/

Blossom time for pears, not yet for apples…

posted in: apples, blossom, mistletoe, orchard, pears | 0

Most of Gloucestershire’s traditional orchards are a mix of apples, pears and some plums – and this becomes particularly obvious, some distance away, at flowering time with the pears flowering first.

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.

 

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