The orchard was planted in the 70s, we believe, by the previous occupants of the house. We have met people locally who say they helped plant it. The trees were carefully chosen to provide apples and pears from mid-August through to November. Each year, I dry some apples for all year round consumption. Some fruit is cooked and frozen (apple crumble is a traditional part of our Christmas), and plenty is consumed and given away.

Looking down the orchard

Looking down the orchard

Last winter I stored some of the later varieties in the geranda and bike shed – they kept until well into the New Year. We would also like to obtain an apple press for making cider and juice.

Apples for storing

Apples for storing

Apple varieties are:

  • Cox’s orange pippin
  • Bramley
  • Newton Wonder
  • Early Worcester
  • George Cave
  • Egremont russet
  • Crispin
  • Worcester Pearmain
  • James Grieve
  • Howgate wonder
  • Grenadier
  • Spartan
  • Golden delicious

Pear varieties are:

  • Pitmaston Duchess
  • Winter nelis
  • Doyenne du Comice
  • Williams
  • Conference

This is complemented by varieties of plums, greengages and self sown damsons.

Since 2008, I have been working on renovating the orchard with annual winter pruning (for detailed instructions click on the ‘pruning’ tag). In 2013, almost every tree was bearing fruit – this is the first year this has happened since we moved here. Although pruning often leads to less fruit (as there is less tree to bear it), the fruit is usually of a better quality and produced every year. Pruning controls many diseases that fruit trees suffer from, as well as helping to eliminate biennial bearing (a tree bearing fruit only in alternate years).

There is a video tour of the orchard, in Summer 2013, available on YouTube.

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