December 2018

The final month of a very busy year! This is what we have achieved with the hard work of all our orchard members. A big thank you to everyone who have made the following possible…

  • completion of the dry stone wall seated area
  • creation of a forest garden around the seated area
  • planting of native wild flowers
  • GPS mapping of all the fruit trees completed
  • development of the orchard website
  • purchase of an apple storage rack
  • labelling of trees with new labels begun
  • building of a willow bower at the end of the nut walk
  • an interpretation board for the entrance designed and produced

We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we are looking forward to a very busy 2019.

November 2018

We are now entering a quieter time for the orchard. There is less need for workdays so we will only be organising monthly ones until the Spring. Please check the ‘What’s on’ page for dates. Winter jobs will include weeding and pruning of trees and fruit bushes.

A final picking and juicing day was held on the 17th November, producing more bottles of fresh, tasty apple juice. We are storing some in the shed on the newly purchased apple rack. The intention is to see how well they store over the coming months.

Although there are still lots of vegetables growing on the allotment plots, there is little to be seen now in the orchard. We did have a good crop of sloe berries and the birds have been enjoying them too!

 

October 2018

October has been a mixed bag, with warm sunny days, and temperatures cold enough to give us frost and ice. The Orchard is starting to take on it’s Autumn colour.Many of the surrounding trees have already lost their leaves.

We had a wonderfully successful apple picking and juicing day. Lots of members turned up to help and we also had eight families visit in the afternoon to juice their own apples.

Maintainance continues including grass cutting, hopefully this will not continue much longer. We are now planning the winter pruning and focusing on the forest garden again. There were still some apples on the trees but they are all picked.

September 2018

The orchard has looked glorious under the September sun. We have continued our work days, cutting grass, picking the last of the berries and finishing the scything.

The windy weather brought a lot of apples down. These were collected and stored ready for juicing.

Our heritage trees are also producing fruit for us to pick, including the quince and medlar trees.

August 2018

The orchard is now entering its abundant season and there has been plenty of soft fruit to pick. Blackcurrant, red and white currants, gooseberries, jostaberries, raspberries, blackberries and some early ripening plums.

The change in the weather has brought more rain. This has been good news for the fruit trees but some have suffered during the drought.

There were also others in the orchard interested in eating the fruit. Picking the plums could be very hazardous at times!

It looks like there is going to be a good crop of apples again this year. Dates for the juicing and picking weekend are on our ‘What’s on’ page.

 

July 2018

The hot weather and lack of rain has not yet had a great impact on the orchard, although some of the fruit trees are looking a bit sorry for themselves. One advantage of the weather is that the grass growth has slowed down and we are not cutting so frequently.

The soft fruit beds are flourishing and we have an abundance of strawberries, currents and gooseberries. the fruit are beginning to grow and there are plenty of nuts on the trees in the Nut Grove. Work has continued on the seating area and we has a marvellous time taking part in the Garden Open Day.

June 2018

The orchard has blossomed under the warm, sunny days. The down side of this glorious summer is the lack of rain and several of the trees are beginning to suffer. However, the majority of trees have produced lots of fruit. The soft fruit beds are looking very productive too, and there has been lots of rhubarb to pick.

Work days continue and although the grass isn’t growing so quickly, the weeds seem determined to grow!

The wild flower meadows are thriving and there is a variety of flowers to find. Hunting through the grass, you can find vetch, lesser stitchwort and yellow rattle.

 

May 2018

The orchard has blossomed under the May sunshine. At the beginning of the month, the trees were covered in pink and white flowers, the cordons and espaliers were particularly beautiful.

The grass is now growing with a vengence and needs regular cutting.  Weeding in the soft fruit beds continues and we are now picking rhubarb and waiting for the strawberries to ripen! Good progress has continued on the seating area and the stone wall is steadily growing.

 

April 2018

April has brought all different kinds of weather and this has had an effect on the orchard and the work we have been able to carry out. Many of the jobs have been delayed, however the cold start to Spring has meant that the weeding and grass cutting didn’t start until the end of the month.

The beginning of the month still saw the orchard water logged, however, the rhubarb didn’t seem to mind the cool, wet weather.

As the weather slowly warmed up and the sun began to shine, the fruit trees began to wake up and by the end of April the blossom started to appear. The plum trees were the first to show their flowers followed by the apple trees and the nut trees. We also wanted to add to the diversity of wild flowers abd the marsh marigolds flowered for the first time in April.

The members of the orchard also made great progress on the new seating area. There is much more information about this on our Project page.

Signs of Spring?

20180311_125759 After a very snowy start to Spring, the Orchard is just beginning to show signs of life emerging from the winter snow. A walk around the orchard showed that the moles were still very active.

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We also came across these intriguing channels in the ground which led to some small holes in the mud. If you have any idea which animal made them we would be very interested to hear from you.

The snowdrops have survived the cold but you can see from the photos that the ground is very waterlogged and this has hindered any workday plans we have. Pruning and digging will have to wait until the ground is firmer.20180311_125733 Hopefully the weather will continue to improve and we will soon be posting about the apple blossom.