Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Apples & Pears


When I blog about a new project I'm undertaking it's usually knitting or sewing related, but this time its on a slightly larger scale: an orchard.

We recently brought from our neighbours an orchard that borders our garden. It had been in their family since the 1920s, so they had a great attachment to it and had refused all previous offers from other neighbours to buy it. However, they surprised us last year by asking if we'd like to buy it as they knew that we'd hankered after it and would restore it back to how it would have been. So, since last month we've been the orchard's new owners and boy, do we have our work cut out!



As the orchard hadn't been managed for at least ten years, lots of bramble had sprung up and was slowly taking over the ground and climbing up on the trees. So, my first job was to cut back the bramble and ivy. Luckily, we had a week of lovely sunny weather soon  after we had brought it, so I was able to crack-on with the clearing.

Bottom left: The size of the project is just dawning on me!

Apparently, sheep used to be grazed in here back in the Twenties and earlier, and even a horse used to be stabled here. The remains of the livestock sheds are at the back of the orchard, but they're derelict...



...however they are starting to give up a few of their 'treasures' such as this old mangle!


We also found beneath one of the trees a lead label carved with the name 'Charles Ross', so at least we know what one of the apple varieties in the orchard is! 



All the trees are now in blossom and the bluebells are out too, so there's a lot of colour (and bee activity) taking place in there.






We've now taken down the hedge that once divided off our garden from the orchard so that it's one big open area and the enormity of the task ahead is daunting, yet exciting.

Our plan is to restore the orchard, removing the remainder of the bramble scrub in autumn as they're providing breeding bird habitat at present, and re-stock it with local heritage varieties of fruit trees. At present, apples are the main trees with some plum and a single pear, but I'd like to add a few more plums and pears to the mix with some elderberry bushes too. 

I'll be updating you all on the orchard's progression throughout the year - so wish us luck with our new project - I think we'll need it!

17 comments :

  1. How wonderful. My parents owned a plum orchard once. In the summer they had plums, in the spring, the orchard was full of Daffodils The previous owners used to sell in the plums and Daffodils in the local market, so did my parents. Do you know if you have Daffodils?
    Julie xxxx

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    1. Hello Julie, yes we do have Daffodils. They were just emerging as I was cutting away the brambles and it was great to see them properly after I had cleared it all way xx

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  2. That's absolutely fantastic! Love the mangle and the tree label. isn't Charlie Ross one of the experts on Bargain Hunt?
    This looks exactly like my childhood garden, that too had an orchard, but never any sheep. sadly it's gone to rack and ruin now, the apples are rank! Hope you get loads of pleasure from yours. xxxx

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  3. How exciting! Lots of hard work but so rewarding in the long run and what a fabulous environment for your daughter to play. How fabulous is the mangle?
    x

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  4. That's absolutely brilliant! What a wonderful thing to own and enjoy. Hard work yes, but what rewards and how much fun for your little lass.! I look forward to hearing all about it.xx

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  5. What a wonderful opportunity! A tad daunting, yes, but just think of the pleasure (and produce) when the orchard is restored and beautiful once more. xxx

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  6. Wow, what a great and 'fruitful' project. Lucky you.
    xx

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  7. I'm quite green with jealousy. I'd recommend a Greengage tree or two too, I have one in the garden here and they are delicious.

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    1. I'd never have thought of greengages - thanks for the inspiration!

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  8. How wonderful! I'm wandering how you might keep it under control once it's cleared, and did some quick checking. It seems to me that the disadvantages of most grading animals outweigh the benefits! I found a useful-looking publication: publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/81049

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    1. Thanks for searching this out for me Helena. It looks like its an interesting publication so I'll have to check it out in more detail.

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  9. An orchard of your own, that is really wonderful!! Oh an I would recommend Greengage too, I had a tree on my old allotment (the only thing I miss about it) and they were so delicious and made the best jam, if I ever get my own garden I will definitely be planting one!! x

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  10. Wow, that's going to be a massive amount of work, but what a lovely thing to own! If you get fed up of apples you can always start making your own cider...

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  11. What a fantastic project! It's great that you are working to restore it. I love old orchards. Good luck!

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  12. Whoa! An orchard - how cool.

    You should seriously look into getting a goat to clear your brambles. They use them here in Australia to clear acres of blackberry bushes (noxtious weed here) and they do the job with no problems.. amazing animals.

    And yes you need more plums

    Stephanie

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  13. Wow, that is a fab project. Best of luck with it..all your hard work will certainly be worth it. Lizzie

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