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LEICESTERSHIRE APPLES NEWS 2024

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EVENTS 2023 and 2024
We are running a grafting course on the third Saturday in Feb, all day, 9.30 for 10.00; 47. If interested please get in touch; email address is diversity(at)suttonelms.org.uk. We have just ONE place left. (Update 10 Feb - the course is now full!)
Venue is Cosby Methodist Church, Leicestershire LE9 1RN.


EVENTS SUMMARY 2024
Sat 27 Jan: Pruning Day at Cotesbach Hall, 10am - 4pm. (Not an LHAP event)
Sat 17 Feb: all-day Cosby grafting course, 9.30 for 10.00; Cosby Methodist Church; Full
Sun 25 Feb: Grafting session: Judith Egan, Lubenham Grafters & Growers (not LHAP). All day.
Sun 25 Feb: A short grafting course in North Leicestershire, led by Mel Wilson. Full
Sun 30 Jun: Garden Plant Sale & Family Day, L. Uni Botanical Garden, 10.00-5pm.
Tues 4 Sep, 7.30, Talk: Apples: Past Present and Future, Burbage Gardening Gp, at Connie Club.
Sat 5 Oct, times tba: Apple Day at Cotesbach Hall, all day.
Sun 13 Oct, Apple Day, apple tasting at Donisthorpe orchard, 11.00am - 3pm.
Mon 20 Oct, Talk, for S.Wigston Flower & Gdn Club, 2.45, Sal.Army Hall, Ladysmith Rd.
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GARDEN PLANT & FAMILY DAY, BOTANICAL GARDEN, 30 Jun
Nigel and Alison were at this event, advertising LHAP's acticities and answering questions on apples. The venue was Beaumont House. No less than seven of our previous grafting students came to see us to report on the progress of their own trees. We answered questions on pruning (renovation and maintenance), woolly aphid, powdery mildew, canker, and what must be Pest of the Year: apple ermine moth, which has been common this season and present in most orchards in high numbers.

plant and family day, Botanical garden, Leicester, 2024 plant and family day, Botanical garden, Leicester, 2024
plant and family day, Botanical garden, Leicester, 2024 plant and family day, Botanical garden, Leicester, 2024

Our grafting course in Cosby next year (2025) will be on the third Saturday, as usual (Feb 15th, 9.30 for 10.00).

1 Jul 24


COSBY APPLE GRAFTING COURSE, 17 Feb
Another fun day with some learning thrown in.

The course was presented by Nigel and Alison and lasted from 10.00 until 4.00. Some pictures shown below; click on the thumbnails for more detail.

We met at 9.30 for 10.00. There was an introductory talk and a slide show on natural grafting, propagating trees from seed, by cuttings and by grafting..... the way in which bark flows downwards on a tree..... and are there special rootstocks in a time of changing climate? ( the answer is a qualified 'yes;'avoid MM106 if you have a mud problem and seek specialist advice if you have a troublesome site or location). One person pointed out the inaccurate nature of the phrase 'global warming', and highlighted a greater problem: changing weather patterns, dealing with potentially colder winters and hot drier summers, and our dependence on the Gulf Stream for tolerable weather.

There followed a practical session - a 'simulation' illustrating how summer budding is done (you can't do budding in Feb), a digression on roses, layering, logging wild apple trees and the quality of their fruit; shaping a bonsai tree (two of our students were bonsai enthusiasts). And the fascination of apples ... redfleshed fruits; making an espalier symmetrical by raising and lowering branches, chimeras, how to multiply rootstocks from cuttings, woolly aphid, canker, double apples, goblet trees...

We started grafting shortly after midday; after our first cleft graft it was lunch, including a large slice of Alison's apple cake, made with Burford's Redflesh. Then a tasting of Phase 3 apples. (those picked very very late: Nov - New Year). Surprisingly, Grenadine (a Phase 2 apple which doesn't usually store for long), was still reasonably good - after being kept for 14 weeks; it must have been something to do with the long damp autumn, where fruit ripened extremely slowly. Highlights of the tasting were Burford Yellow, Pink Pearl and Christmas Pink.

There's a picture of the apples we tasted below. They were:
Dumelow's Seedling, MM106, Potter's Barn apple, Burford Yellow
Blackjack, Eden Crab, Mere Pippin, Durrant
Burford Redflesh, Hidden Rose, Pink Pearl, Grenadine & Xmas Pink.

We began the afternoon with a couple of whip & tongue grafts on wood where the thicknesses matched. Then we proceeded to wood where they didn't .... chunky thick rootstock and very thin scions, using both kinds of graft. 'Thin on thick' can be difficult, but the students were careful and mastered the technique quickly.

Then it was time to do the real thing - MM106 rootstocks, choosing the varieties, carrying out the grafts. Knife work was good and the grafting was done smoothly and efficiently; then we waxed the joints and the tops; added a grafting envelope ......and the job was complete. A few closing remarks followed, about NOT putting the grafts under cover but finding somewhere where they would be rained on and would not be dessicated when the sun came out or the wind blew. Finish was about 4.00.

We hope you will keep in touch, and we look forward to seeing pictures of your grafts in 2-3 months time!

    Footnote - thank you, everyone, for keeping in touch and sending your pictures. Pleased to report that ALL students have sent in pictures of their trees - a first, I think! Remember to keep removing any shoots which appear below the graft. They can be surprisingly persistent. (...ND, 1 Jul 24)



cosby grafting course, 2024 cosby grafting course, 2024

cosby grafting course, 2024 cosby grafting course, 2024

cosby grafting course, 2024 cosby grafting course, 2024

cosby grafting course, 2024 cosby grafting course, 2024

cosby grafting course, 2024

18 Feb 24


ORCHARD PRUNING SESSION, COTESBACH HALL, 27 Jan
Another enjoyable day tidying up the apple trees at Cotesbach. We had a larger-than-usual group with four newcomers assisting; many thanks to everyone who helped. There was a good mix of younger and older trees to work on; everything from an old espalier Rev Wilkes to a young and very vigorous Bramley. The orchard contains a large number of interesting trees - some Leicestershire varities (Prince Charles, Annie Elizabeth, Langton Nonesuch), heritage varieties (Court de Wick, Ribston, Kidd's Orange, Ellison's, Laxton's Fortune), along with pears, plums, a medlar and a 170-year-old Martin's Custard.

Many thanks to Sophy for an enjoyable day and for preparing a delicious lunch.

I've put a few snaps below. Click on the thumbnailis for bigger pictures.

Cotesbach Hall Orchard, 2024 Cotesbach Hall Orchard, 2024

Cotesbach Hall Orchard, 2024 Cotesbach Hall Orchard, 2024

Cotesbach Hall Orchard, 2024 Cotesbach Hall Orchard, 2024

Cotesbach Hall Orchard, 2024 Cotesbach Hall Orchard, 2024

28 Jan 24


APPLE TASTINGS 2023-24
Julie Drake and I have filmed more apple tastings at the Marina in North Kilworth, which makes four so far this season. We will probably do another one in Feb or March, looking at winter storers. The first four videos are:
Apple Tasting 1, 13 Sep 2023: Early Midseason apples
Apple Tasting 2, 11 Oct 2023: Midseason apples
Apple Tasting 3, 6 Nov 2023: Late Midseason apples
Apple Tasting 4, 20 Nov 2023: Late apples
Sorry there wasn't a late Oct video - we both had Covid.

25 Nov 23

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