..... ..... .....
LEICESTERSHIRE APPLES NEWS 2013...................... 2014..... 2013..... 2012..... 2011..... 2010..... 2009
We are now taking bookings for a grafting workshop, Feb 2014. Please send an email for details. Gardening and volunteer groups especially welcome. The venue will be in South Leicestershire.
UPDATE - COURSE NOW FULL. WILL RUN AGAIN NEXT YEAR.
If you've missed the course ...one-to-one tuition still available. Email to arrange a date.
Sat 15 Feb 2014: Grafting workshop, Cosby Methodist Church Hall, 9.30 for 10; email for details.
Sun 23 Feb 2014: Grafting Workshop, Mkt. Harborough. Private group; date/venue tbc.
Thur 20 Mar 2014: Sapcote Heritage Group. Apple talk, private group. Details tbc.
Mon 31 Mar, 7.30pm. Nuneaton Rotary Club. Apple talk, private group.
Buy Leicestershire Apples
PAST EVENTS & NEWS
PLANTING A NEW ORCHARD
Members of LHAP assisted with an apple planting at Woodstone Primary School, Ravenstone on 10 Jan 2014. The trees were Leicestershire heritage varieties.
10 Jan 14
Late apple tasting done on 4 Jan 2014; these were all very late 'phase 3' varieties with concentrated flavours.
Croft Late (sweet, juicy, hints of grass/celery [hexanol]), High Cross (dry and rather acidic), Croft Late, Durrant (very sweet, parma violets, no acidity), Wickson (tart, fruity, very juicy), Grenadine (past its best; acidity gone and crumbly texture).
4 Jan 14
TREE PLANTING, STOKE GOLDING
LHAP was invited to a tree planting in Stoke Golding on 5 Dec 2013. For two years, students at Saint Martin's Catholic Voluntary Academy have been involved in learning about apples, in a project coordinated by Mrs. Doreen Rose. Stage 1 was to seek permission to investigate the gardens of local people during the apple season to investigate the wide range of apples grown nearby, especially their flavours and appearances. Local people allowed pupils to take apples away to a specially-organized 'Apple Day', and to learn a little about how to identify them.
Stage 2 was to take small pieces of wood from these trees in February, and to use the cuttings (known as 'scions') to make new apple trees.
Stage 3 was to plant a nursery bed, which is shown below. The pictures show the Head of the school, Mrs. Brenda Carson (and a student involved with the project) planting the last two trees. Students are fully involved at each stage, and eventually the young trees will be used to start a new community orchard on part of the land formerly occupied by the old Convent.
The first is from a tree which we estimate is probably about 100 years old, close to the church; very tall and either on its own roots or on a seedling rootstock. It resembles Golden Spire in shape, and the two apples we saw both had a pronounced raised line running from the stalk end towards the eye.
We were asked to put names to some local apple trees (Howgate Wonder, Golden Noble, James Grieve and the ubiquitous Bramley, which is sometimes difficult to identify) and gave tastings of some unusual apples, some of which were quite rare. The spectacular colour of Grenadine, an apple originating in California, attracted some attention, as did the locally-discovered "Chapman's Colossus", which was grown from a pip planted by a son of Mrs. Chapman of Croft in about 1955.
It was interesting to compare the this apple with a Howgate Wonder supplied by a resident of Sapcote. The two apples were identical in smell, colour, ripeness, and skin texture; both were starting to become sticky. The eye (opposite the stalk end) was very slightly different, but the other resemblances were so striking that we believe the Chapman's Colossus to be a Howgate Wonder seedling.
There was a wide variety of activities - some interesting historical displays, expert composters giving advice, children's games, and sizzling bacon on offer. There was even a cidermaking competition; to enter, the cider must contain some juice from Donisthorpe Orchard. The ciders will be judged in a year's time.
We had a display of about 50 sorts of apple (some supplied by Sally Cunningham) and a dozen heritage varieties to taste: from Leicestershire, further afield, and abroad: Laxton's Fortune, Scarlet Surprise, Mott's Pink, Chapman's Colossus, Pink Pearmain, Langton's Nonesuch, Sam Bell, Ribston, Sunset, Breunsdorfer, Weirouge and Wyken Pippin; these were varieties from the LHAP collection in good condition on the day.
Laxton's Fortune and Leicestershire's Langton's Nonesuch were enjoyed by many; also the redfleshed varieties. Mott's Pink and Breunsdorfer were rated very highly.
Click on the thumbnail for the detail, which shows the work in progress. I am grateful to plant expert Sally Cunningham for help with some of the IDs.
Second picture, largest to smallest: Chapman's Colossus (Leicestershire Unique Seedling or LUS), Discovery, Hall's Pink, Croft Cider, Croft Red Devil (LUS), Sam Bell (LUS), Wyken Pippin, Scarlet Surprise.
Also available for tasting: James Grieve, Spartan, Grimes Golden, Ellison's Orange, Red Ellison's, St. Edmund's Russet, Newton Wonder, Jonathan, Cox's Pomona, Laxton Superb, Bramley.
UPDATE...there is a brief writeup of the talk at http://www.stokegolding.co.uk/the_stoker/Nov_13.pdf
Three apples were brought for identification - two of them were straightforward: Golden Spire and Dumelow's Seedling. The third resembled Belvoir Seedling but was from a 150-year old tree. The variety has only existed for about 70 years, so this one we could not identify without further work.
For those who are interested, the progress of our apple breeding programme (making new varieties) can be found here.
Our new display materials are shown below:
29 Jun 13
Alison & Nigel Deacon gave a talk to Ticknall Preservation & Historical Society, 7.30pm at the Village Hall, Ticknall, 31 May: "Heritage Apples, and how we discovered the lost Leicestershire Apples". About 50 people attended. We took along some samples of seedlings grown from pips from the same apple (astonishingly different), a grafted tree, and rootstocks. Questions from the audience caused us to cover many aspects of apples not in our usual talk, including apple breeding, unusual varieties, red fleshed apples and how one identifies an unknown apple if everyone who once knew it is long dead. We also included a section on Derbyshire apples. For us it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
One unexpected development: after the talk we received information which may help us locate the Packington apple.
1 Jun 13
GROUNDWORK LEICESTER & LEICESTERSHIRE CLOSES
Until recently this admirable group, Groundwork Leicester & Leicestershire maintained the nature reserves in Leicestershire on a shoestring budget, looking after woodland and wild areas. It did this by training and leading a large group of unpaid volunteers and others. It even cleared scrubland and replaced it with apple orchards. The group has recently been closed down, presumably because of government austerity measures.
Meanwhile, through our taxes and electricity bills we are building wind turbines and implementing a decarbonization policy which costs many billions of pounds, is entirely paid for by subsidy (us), and which does nothing for the environment.
28 May 13
Chris Miles of Packington has reported that there is a Packington apple which he is trying to trace. The name is apparently 'Packington Summary', but at the time of writing no more information is available. If anyone can supply details, or can suggest where a tree might be found, please contact the website using the 'contact us' button, or use the address diversity(at)suttonelms.org.uk.
15 May 13
We are producing some seedlings by crossing red fleshed varieties with good flavoured English varieties, to produce red fleshed apples with a Leicestershire connection. The Leicestershire crosses we have done are Langton's Nonesuch x Bieinrode, Langton's Nonesuch x Huonville Crab, Belvoir Seedling x Bieinrode and Chapman's Colossus x Bienrode. The first three crosses may produce a redfleshed eating apple; the last may produce a redfleshed cooker. It will be some time before we know whether the pollinations have worked; the weather for it this year has not been very favourable.
15 May 13
PROMOTING LEICESTERSHIRE VARIETIES
Grafting of Leicestershire (and occasionally other rare) apples is done intensively in February and March; it's a short season. Trees ordered in Dec and Jan are ready for collection in Aug - Sept.
We are grateful to Claire Moore for her assistance in grafting a large number of apple trees for a new community orchard in South Leicestershire.
20 Mar 13
LEICESTERSHIRE HERITAGE APPLES TALK
Given by Mel Wilson, 19 Mar 13; Glen Parva Gardening Club. Very well attended; about 50 in the audience. Much interest shown in local varieties, including for local schools' plots.
19 Mar 13
RIND GRAFTING & TOP-WORKING
This generally takes place on established trees from about Mar 10-24, when the bark becomes very soft. It is an excellent (and quick) way of changing the variety on a tree, but the time 'window' for it is very short; about a fortnight. A number of trees have been converted by LHAP in South Leicestershire this year, some to multiple varieties.
The other way of top-working a tree is to saw off the unwanted branches; then a year later whip and tongue grafts are inserted into the new growth. The time window for this is wider (Jan - late Mar) but it takes a year longer than rind grafting.
Thanks CM for introducing us to rind grafting.....ND
18 Mar 13
Twelve trees grafted for a school in the Coalville area.
4 Mar 13
PLANTING LEICESTERSHIRE VARIETIES
Setting up a community orchard: supplying 50 trees in North Leicestershire; joint project with Groundworks Leicester & Leicestershire, Leicester Parks Department and Leicestershire Heritage Apples Project. Picture shows Stefan, Kim, Nigel, Sue, Rob, Steve and Stuart after the tree planting.
3 Mar 13
TOP-WORKING IN KNIGHTON
Three old apple trees top-worked for "J", in Knighton ... Martin's Custard, Belvoir Seedling, Barnack Orange and Marriage Maker. It is hoped to post pictures here as the grafts develop.
An apple tree can be converted from one variety to another, and as long as it doesn't require ladder work. This uses the existing root system of an otherwise unwanted tree. It is much quicker than planting a new tree, and it can be fruiting heavily again after three years.
Next year when our supplies of scionwood have increased, we may offer this as a service - either Leicestershire varieties or redfleshed or other specified varieties within the Leicestershire Heritage Apples collection. Please email if interested.
1 Mar 13
LEICESTERSHIRE APPLES FOR A COMMUNITY ORCHARD
Leicester Heritage Apples working alongside 'Groundworks Leicester & Leicestershire' and Leicestershire Parks Department grafting Leicestershire apple trees for planting in a community orchard in North Leicestershire. The working group: Kim, Stuart, Nigel, along with Stefan & Mel (not shown).
24 Feb 13
GRAFTING WORKSHOPS, MARKET HARBOROUGH
Two grafting workshops took place on Sunday 24th Feb, St. Hugh's Church Hall, Granville Rd. About two dozen students learned the basics of grafting, and made two trees each. Varieties used included Leicestershire heritage apples, Leicesterstershire unique seedlings, redfleshed apples (Pink Pearl, Pendragon and Grenadine) and other well-known heritage apples including Ribston and Devonshire Quarrenden.
Pictures from the workshops are shown below.
24 Feb 13
GRAFTING UNDER WAY
Leicestershire varieties for which we have been asked have now been grafted. Also done: Grenadine, Mere Pippin, Almata x Laxton seedlings, d'Arcy Spice x Mott's Pink seedlings.
20 Feb 13
The year's grafting will begin shortly.
5 Feb 13
Visitors arrived for a grafting demonstration and an apple tasting. Five late varieties in good condition were tried - West Virgina Sweet, Burford Yellow, Hidden Rose, Huonville Crab and D'Arcy Spice. The Huonville Crab had stored well and had lost most of its acidity and was a slightly tart, concentrated flavour a little like Pink Pearl. West Virginia Sweet was the sweetest and possibly the best, run close by Burford Yellow and d'Arcy Spice. The redfleshed apples caused (as ever) much surprise.
3 Feb 13
GROWER IN NEWCASTLE
A grower friend in Newcastle collected scions of West Virginia Sweet, D'Arcy Spice, Burford Yellow, and Langton's Nonesuch. It is important that worthwhile rare varieties and good unique seedlings are preserved.
26 Jan 13
I am involved with various people in mapping the community orchards (and some other orchards) of Leicestershire. This is an ongoing project with Groundworks Leicester & Leicestershire, and the well-known website 'Orangepippin'. Three done so far: Broughton Astley, Ratby and Anstey. The information is shown here under 'Community Orchards in Leicestershire".
31 Jan 13
Please contact us if you would like to assist with promoting Leicestershire apples, or you have a small piece of land where we could plant trees.
Nigel Deacon / Mel Wilson
|Cosby Methodist Church|
|Links to other sites|