Spring Time

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.

Early signs of Spring!

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.


What to do with winter vegetables

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
  • Endive
  • Rocket
  • Raisins
  • 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.


Wassailing January 2019

Once again Orchard members, Allotment holders and family and friends gathered at the orchard an a dry but chilly Saturday in January to ‘wake up the trees’.

Wassailing is an ancient tradition revived during the nineteenth centuary. The trees are beaten with sticks and, along with shouting, noise making and singing, this is supposed to wake up the trees after their winter sleep. Bread dipped in cider is left in the branches and cider is poured on the roots to encourage the trees to produce a good crop of apples in the coming year.

We were lucky to have a wonderful group of musicians to help with the singing and The Green Man to lead the celebrations. A very good shared lunch was enjoyed afterwards.20190105_113709

A prickly inhabitant of the orchard

On one of our Saturday work mornings, a member spotted a baby hedgehog slowly making its way between some allotments. Having enjoyed quietly watching the hedgehog for a while we left her to continue on her travels.

At this time of year with more activity in the orchard we are always very careful, when grass cutting and scything, not to harm or disturb any wildlife living in the long grass.

1st September workday

September started warm and sunny, a good day for grass cutting, scything, moving hay and picking fruit. A good turn out of members meant that lots of jobs could be tackled. During our well earned coffee break we tasted some of the windfall apples.

Grass cutting the easy way!

The hay meadows in the orchard are usually cut by hand using the traditional technique of scything. This year, one of our orchard members kindly stepped in to cut part of the grass full of nettles and thistles. Being a member of the Vintage Tractor Club, he brought along his 1956 Ferguson tractor along with a Mayfield grass cutter from the 1950s. Together, they made an easy job of cutting the nettles and thistles.


Wild flowers

During the last two years, we have been planting more wild flowers to increase their diversity in the orchard. We are now seeing the results of this effort by the growing number of different species being spotted in the hay meadows around the trees and the ditches on the edge of the orchard. It was pleasing to see that the wild flower plugs planted earlier in the year by the Brownies have also begun to grow. Click on the pictures below for the wild flower names.

Strawberries and cream!

Our workday on July 7th was very productive. Grass was cut, weeds pulled and all of the cordons and espaliers were pruned. Our coffee break included cream scones with strawberries freshly picked from the orchard strawberry beds.