LEICESTERSHIRE APPLES NEWS 2018......................
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COSBY APPLE GRAFTING COURSE 2019 (5hr)
Will run next on Sat 16th Feb and (if oversubscribed) also on Sat 23 Feb 2019; cost £28.
We do shorter grafting workshops too: in Sileby and occasionally elsewhere by arrangement. The next short workshop is on 19 Feb 2019.
Sun 25 Feb, 11.00, 2-hour Grafting Workshop, St. Hugh's Hall, Mkt. Harb; contact J.Egan. for info.
Mon 26 Feb, 10am: pruning at Cotesbach Hall with Grafters and Growers
Wed 28 Mar, Mkt. Harborough Gardening Club, 7.30, Con Club lounge (mw)
Wed 16 May, 7.30pm, Stamford Comm Orchard Gp, Crown Hotel, Stamford PE9 2AG (mw)
Sun 1 Jul, Univ Botanical Gdn Leicester, Family/Plant Day 10am-5pm. (nd/ad)
Wed 19 Sep, 7.00 for 7.30, Ashby de la Zouch (mw)
Fri 21 Sep, 7 for 7.30, Bramcote Memorial Hall, Nottingham.(mw)
Sat 29 Sep, 10-4,Polebrook Hayes Farm Open Day; near Markfield (nd)
Sun 30th Sep, 10-4, Woodhouse Eaves Apple Day (nd/ad) - apple tasting and pressing
Sat 6 Oct, 11-4, Cotesbach Education Trust, Cotesbach Hall - apple day.
Mon 8 Oct, Denton & Distr. Gdning Club, 7.30, Village Hall, Denton, Northants (mw)
Sat 13 Oct, Donisthorpe Apple Day, The Orchard, Donisthorpe, all day. (nd/ad)
Tues 23 Oct, Lutterworth, U3A Gardening Group; 2pm, Gilmorton Village Hall. (nd/ad)
Thur 25 Oct, 7.30pm, Burton on the Wolds Gardening Club, in the village hall (mw)
Sun 18 Nov, EMidlands Cott Gdn Soc, 2.30pm (sic) Barwell Village Hall (nd/ad)
1 May, Oundle Horticultural Society, talk (mw)
Sat 16 Feb, 9.30 for 10.00, All-day Grafting Course, Cosby Methodist Church; email for details (nd/ad)
Tues 19 Feb, Sileby: 2½ hour Grafting Workshop.
19 Jul Burton-on-Trent Gardening Club (mw)
If oversubscribed we will run the course again on Sat 23 Feb.
Fri 1 Nov, Market Bosworth Gardening Society, 7.30, talk (nd/ad)
EVENTS & NEWS
DONISTHORPE ORCHARD: APPLE DAY, 13 Oct
A warm blustery day saw us at Donisthorpe, 1pm-4pm, taking part in apple events and hosting another apple tasting: 12 unusual varieties including Leicestershire (Marriage Maker, Barnack Orange) and redfleshed (Grenadine, Alatau, Weirouge, Bienrode) along with some well-known English and overseas apples: Darcy Spice, Ribston, Huonville Crab and Wickson. There was the usual cider competition, with 8 entries, along with some enthusiastic youngsters carrying out pressing and juicing. We were pleased to see that the orchard is in generally good shape, and that removal of some of the larger surrounding trees canopy is now planned, to prevent shading of the fruit trees. The younger 'forested' area is also scheduled to be thinned, to let in light and air and to allow the remaining trees to grow healthily.
Votes for the different apples:
8 Darcy Spice
7 Marriage Maker
5 Huonville Crab
4 Barnack Orange
3 Baya Marisa
1 Allens Everlasting
1 Rote Alatau
14 Oct 2018
COTESBACH EDUCATIONAL TRUST, COTESBACH HALL: APPLE DAY, 6 Oct
Rainy weather did not affect the enthusiasm of those who came to the Cotesbach Apple Day. Apple pressing and juicing were carried out all day, using apples from the Cotesbach orchard, and Nigel & Alison were allocated the CET room (a brilliant event venue) for their apple tastings for the whole of the afternoon, because of the damp weather. The apple display included many of the Leicestershire Heritage Apples from the orchard, and ten very unusual apples collected by Nigel and Alison from different countries, some of them with deep red flesh and unusual flavours.
Several people had brought apples to identify, which is always interesting; one was elongated like Adam's Pearmain with a pronounced 'crown', coloured deep red, which I had never seen before but the others were straightforward, including Howgate Wonder (very popular around here a few years ago), Monarch and Egremont Russet. A few pictures are shown below:
7 Oct 2018
BROOMBRIGGS FARM APPLE DAY, 30 Sep
Lots of apple activities in a field near Beacon Hill, Woodhouse Eaves on this rather cool day, from 10 until 4. Nigel and Alison brought some unusual apple varieties to supplement those supplied by a local grower, and hosted an interesting apple tasting. Each person was asked to taste 16 varieties and indicate his or her favourite; 100 people participated. Cakes and jams were brought around on a regular basis to keep away the cold. Lord Lambourne was most popular. The top scorers:
17 Lord Lambourne
12 Ribston Pippin
11 Marriage Maker
11 Katy (Katya)
8 West Virginia Sweet
7 Redlove Circe
The redfleshed varieties attracted a lot of attention; many people had not seen apples like this before.
30 Sep 2018
RAW N PURE OPEN DAY, 29 Sep
Excellent weather all day made this a very enjoyable event. Sarah showed groups of visitors around the farm for several hours and provided refreshment at regular intervals. There were interesting discussions about why Organic is best, and we learned a little about the cultivation methods used. We look forward to other events in the future, including assistance (perhaps from some of our visitors) in keeping the orchard tidy.
29 Sep 2018
RAW N PURE
Polebrook Hayes Farm Open Day is on Sat 29 September; all welcome. A recent video about the farm was shot by Julie Drake recently. If you'd like to see Sarah taking us on a tour of the site, please click the link. Their produce is entirely organic; the biggest organic producer in Leicestershire.
Tour of Polebrook Hayes Farm
10 Sep 2018
APPLE TASTING 5
Apple Tasting 5, 26 Sep 2018
APPLE TASTING 4
Apple Tasting 4, 20 Sep 2018
APPLE TASTING 3
Apple Tasting 3, 22 Aug 2018
Midseason apples which have ripened (not very well) a month earlier than usual in response to the hot dry summer.
8 Sep 2018
FAMILY APPLE TREE
The family apple tree which we began constructing two years ago now has first fruit. See
Family Apple Tree, Aug 2018
24 Aug 2018
APPLE TASTING 2
Apple Tasting 2, 22 Aug 2018: Earlies
Twelve apples sampled; mainly early varieties but some prematurely-ripe midseason types; a consequence of the hot summer. Sawfly also having a bumper year; will there be any apples left on the trees by October?
23 Aug 2018
APPLE TASTING 1
A recent tasting of early apples; more to come soon. Here we look at 7 varieties.
Apple Tasting 1, 15 Aug 2018: Earlies
17 Aug 2018
POLEBROOK HAYES FARM
We spent another day recently tidying up the orchard at the Polebrook Hayes Farm near Markfield; the recent dry weather has made things very difficult for young trees, but the vast majority has survived and now we seem to be back to a more normal weather pattern.
Sarah, who runs the orchard, talks about Raw n Pure and her orchard 'maintenance days' in this interview with Ed Stagg of BBC Radio Leicester, recorded when he visited in early August.
13 Jul 2018
SUMMER PRUNING & PLANTING
It's not a bad time to begin summer pruning now, to get rid of unwanted soft summer growth before the aphids take a hold. Water shoots need removing, along with any shoots emerging from fruiting clusters. The unrelenting hot weather is making it difficult for those with trees permenantly in pots. Woolly aphid - scrub it off with a toothbrush. Spray a little afterwards to help prevent re-infection, and thin out any excess growth. Infected shoots with swellings on them never recover; you may as well prune them off.
For those who want to plant trees in the ground now - don't do it, even if your new tree is in a container. Let it rain first. Meanwhile keep it in the shade, ensure it can't be blown over; stand it on a shallow tray on some matting or old newspaper, and water it every day.
3 Jul 2018
FAMILY & PLANT DAY, BOTANICAL GARDEN, LEICESTER
Nigel and Alison attended the event; lots of interest in apples (especially this year's main problem which lots of people asked us about - curly leaves, no growth and apples falling off. This is caused by aphids). There was also interest in our grafting courses. Next all-day grafting course will be on the 3rd Saturday next year (2019), Cosby Methodist Church, Leicestershire; please email for details.
A few pictures from the event are shown below, including two of our apple display. Click the thumbnails for larger pics.
2 Jul 2018
THE WEATHER, PART 2
After freezing and flooding, we are now about three weeks into a very hot dry period which is causing problems with watering for vegetable gardeners and problems with aphids for those with fruit trees.
Aphids can stunt young trees very badly and a severe infestation can be fatal. Unless you are an organic gardener I suggest you spray the growing tips (only) regularly - every three or four days, until it gets cooler. If you're organic, the best spray is Neem Oil. For woolly aphis you need to brush off the infestation several times with a toothbrush (on young trees) before thinking about spraying. Good luck with it.
28 Jun 2018
The latter part of the winter has seen very poor weather, lower temperatures and waterlogging. It's good to see some of the grafts waking up but now we have yet more rain, which will make late tree planting difficult. Our flowering prunus was in flower on 20 Mar, a week later than last year, but my brother's flowering malus was out on Mar 30th (same as last year). It's difficult to predict the apple blossom dates this year but it shouldn't be too different from 2017. Our first apple blossom last year was on 12 April.
31 Mar 2018
MEL ON RADIO LEICESTER WITH BEN JACKSON, 16 MAR 2018
Mel describes the work of Leicestershire Heritage Apples project: locating the lost Leicestershire varieties, spreading them around the county, teaching the art of grafting, the importance of local food production and sustainability. She also mentions the construction of family trees: those with several varieties of apple on one tree.
The interview with Ben Jackson is
Those of you interested in family trees may like to investigate this sequence of 8 videos which shows in detail the transformation of an unwanted tree into one with many varieties on its branches:
Family apple tree construction
1 making the framework
2 new shoots forming
3 more growth
4 preparing for grafting (Feb 2017)
6 after grafting
7 new shoots growing
8 rapid growth and wind damage
It's now March 2018 and I have just added another twenty scions onto the tree. Last year's growths have been cut back slightly so this year's grafts have a chance to catch up. As soon as Julie is available for filming we'll do a follow-up. Meanwhile here are two photos of the tree on 16 Mar; click on the thumbnails to see them more clearly.
16 Mar 2018
PRUNING, COTESBACH HALL, 26 FEB 2018
Nigel was pruning again at Cotesbach Hall; about 34F and windy but the trees were looking much better by the end of the day. Judith Egan organised the event, and we were joined by Cee from Great Glen, and by Sophy for the afternoon session. Two people who attended the grafting workshop yesterday also assisted; thank you! Sophy provided a superb homemade soup at lunchtime, and Judith brough home-baked bread and fresh walnut cake. We hope to meet for a summer pruning session in about 5 months' time.
26 Feb 2018
GRAFTING WORKSHOP, MKT. HARBOROUGH, 25 FEB 2018
St. Hugh's Hall, 11am-1pm. Sixteen students attended the session, which was organized by Judith Egan. Judith, with her Lubernham Grafters & growers group, has been responsible for introducing large numbers of heritage apple trees, including many Leicestershire apples, into gardens in and around the town. There will be two follow-up grafting days during the week to increase the number of trees available. A few pictures of the event are shown below.
26 Feb 2018
GRAFTING COURSE 2, COSBY, 24 FEB 2018
7 students attended the session today: 9.30-4.00pm; several from Woodhouse Eaves, two from Towcester and one from Derby. The tasting and apple cake were appreciated, and everyone went away with two trees. One person was attending for the third time! For the tasting, we used Varieties: Mere Pippin, Pink Pearl, Christmas Pink, Burford Yellow, High Cross, Durrant's apple, Hidden Rose, Parkway, Croft Late, Suttonelms, West Virginia Beauty, Egremont Russet and Webster. Pictures of the day are shown below.
24 Feb 2018
APPLES TALK, 20 Feb 2018
Wymeswold; History Society. Given by Mel Wilson.
21 Feb 2018
GRAFTING COURSE 1, COSBY, 17 FEB 2018
7 students attended our session today; 9.30-3.30pm, and grafted a large selection of unusual apples: Heritage, Leicestershire and "Other" - including rare redfleshed and seedless. Here are members of today's group hard at work. Alison provided her usual apple cake and we sampled a dozen late winter apples, none of which were in the National Fruit Collection. Christmas Pink was noteworthy - an excellent flavour, and good internal colour. Mere Pippin (brilliant white flesh which doesn't brown), Pink Pearl and Burford Yellow also attracted comment. Click the thumbnails for more detail.
17 Feb 2018
I am presently sorting out the apple tasting for Saturday's grafting course. Here we have 12 varieties of varying flavour and colour, all picked in late December or early January.
Varieties: Mere Pippin, Pink Pearl, Christmas Pink, Burford Yellow, High Cross, Durrant's apple, Hidden Rose, Parkway, Croft Late, Suttonelms and Webster. None of these apples - not one - is in the National Fruit Collection.
The late-storing 'Phase 3' apple is a category which has never made it into the supermarkets; they are very high in sugar; often low in juice, and can tolerate fairly severe frost; the Burford Yellow apples this year survived -7C in good condition.
The two cut apples below are the Durrant apple,with its unusual flavour and cream flesh, and Hidden Rose; the dark pigmentation has largely developed in storage at about 40F in the cellar.
15 Feb 18
BROCK'S HILL TRAINING
Nigel delivered two teaching sessions on the pruning of apple trees on 31 Jan and 7 Feb, to the HLF volunteers at Brock's Hill. The events were organised by Jamie Gould.
8 Feb 18
Nigel Deacon / Mel Wilson /Alison Deacon
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