This winter the OB team have been hard at work planning and planting an apple orchard.  Thirty-one trees have been established in the wild flower meadow which runs alongside the cutting garden flower plots.  We have focussed on local varieties with a Gloucestershire connection – some of which are critically rare and threatened with loss.  The apples have some interesting names – Molly Kernel, Arlingham Schoolboys, King Apple, Ashmeads Kernel, Rheads Rheinett and Green Underleaf.

The trees are planted on M106 rootstocks which means they will be semi-dwarfing…i.e. kept at a manageable height for pruning and harvesting.  The apples have been chosen for a variety of uses, covering the culinary, dessert, juicing and cider apple – some indeed such as Ashmeads Kernel are described as general purpose and can be used for all of the above! A connoisseurs apple,  Dr Barrie Juniper, author of a number of books on apples and an expert, once commented that he would find life difficult without Ashmeads Kernels – his favourite apple! Indeed Morton Shand on BBC Radio 4 stated “What an apple, what suavity of aroma.  Its initial Madeira-like mellowness of flavour overlies a deep honeyed nuttiness, crisply sweet not sugar sweet, but the succulence of a well devilled marrow bone.  Surely no apple of greater distinction or more perfect balance can ever have been raised anywhere on earth?”

We have also planted one crab apple, Pink glow, which has an extended flowering period to aid pollination.

The trees were planted by the OB work team in less than a day with the team working really hard!

We are hoping the roe deer will not damage the trees which have some protection.  Trees are around 6 foot tall and it will be a few years before significant flowering and fruiting. We look forward to some fruitful harvests in the future.

The long time in planning the orchard, together with the hard days toil and teamwork to plant the area, has led me to be inspired to verse!…:

Oh how the Organic Blooms team did toil!

Digging for apple roots in the heavy clay soil

Setting those precious trees in the ground

With thoughts of blossom, and fruits all around

The orchard, now planted grows skywards and down

Future juicy recipes – with apples we’ve grown!