Despite all the upheaval of the recent months we have still managed to carry out all of the jobs in the orchard whilst following Government guidelines. The orchard has been a peaceful breathing space for our members.
Grass has been cut, the fruit tree and soft fruit beds have had a much needed weed and the Forest Garden Project has continued.
Our wild flower meadows are in full bloom again. The plugs planted by the Rainbows and Brownies several years ago are also thriving.
The warm weather we have been enjoying recently has encouraged our fruit trees to blossom. The scent of apple blossom fills the summer evenings. One of our members recently took a stroll around the orchard to photograph the trees in bloom.
Photos courtesy of Zam Tea
Despite the damp, rainy October we have been experiencing, we were lucky to have a sunny morning for our annual apple picking and juicing day. Despite the poor crop of apples we were able to pick enough to share with the orchard members and produce some bottles of juice.
Although the apple crop may have been disappointing this year we have had a bumper crop of hazel and cob nuts.
The mixture of rain and sun has helped the orchard to thrive again and it’s looking as beautiful as ever in the late summer sunshine.
The apples are begining to ripen and the plums are now purple and ready to eat.
There are abundant nuts on the nut trees and it will be a race to who can pick them first us or the squirrels!
One of our major jobs is also looming on the horizon…scything! The grass in the meadows is now ready to cut. We cut the hay using traditional methods using scythes which will all need inspecting and any repairs made before the scything begins.
Last year, we planted some native wild flowers and they have now begun to flower. Steve spotted these Ox Eyed Daisies, Ragged Robin, Yellow Flag Iris and Foxgloves. Can you guess which of these flowers are below? (Click on the images for the answer)
Ox Eyed Daisy
Yellow Flag Iris
If you have a few spare minutes please call into the orchard to enjoy the glorious wild flower meadows. There are carpets of colour all around the trees to be enjoyed. Look out for yellow rattle, clovers, buttercups, vetches, plantains and grasses.
The orchard is now beginning to blossom with the slightly warmer weather and longer days. The fruit trees are producing blossom and some of our Spring flowers are appearing. The Marsh Marigolds in the ditch are a splash of yellow.
The mild Feruary weather has woken up our nut trees in the nut grove. the catkins are a beautiful sight and well worth a look.
We also accidently disturbed a toad during our digging, he was quickly scooped up and placed in a safe place to continue his hibination in peace.
We often have shared meals after our events. Everyone contributes to these meals and we have some amazing food. Sue’s Greek Winter Salad was a favourite and she went home with an empty bowl. Sue has very kindly shared her recipe with us.
Greek Winter Salad
The quantities are not crucial to this recipe add more, reduce, or omit at will.
- White Cabbage
- Red Cabbage
- Walnuts and or pistacchios
- Whole Orange
- Fresh or Dried Strawberries
- Dried Cranberries
- Mixed Seeds
- 2tbsgood quality Balsamic vinegar
- 2tbs good quality Olive oil
- Seasoning to taste
Shread the cabbage as if for coleslaw, half the orange and scoop out the flesh. Add to the cabbage along with any remaining juice. Roughly chop the walnuts and add along with pistachios if using. Add the raisins, strawberries, cranberries and mixed seeds. Next add the rocket and endive to add to colour balance. Mix well. I find it easier to mix with clean hands at this stage. Finally drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning as reqired.
I find this salad keeps well for a couple of days if kept in a sealed container in the fridge.