If you have an ambition to create your own fruit tree, then this is the time to learn how to graft. Practical courses where you can learn to graft a scion (a cutting) from your chosen variety of an apple or pear onto a rootstock and so produce a new tree are offered by many of the regional fruit groups and societies now active all over Britain. In this way you will be able acquire your own tree of a variety that you covert in a friend’s garden or perpetuate a cherished tree that is not going to last much longer. With this skill mastered, it is possible to expand your collection, rescue an old almost forgotten apple or pear and learn a craft that has been part of orchards and country life for millennia.
The Suffolk Traditional Orchards Group, for instance, is holding ‘Grafting Courses’ on:
Saturday 22 February 2014 at Suffolk Wild Life Trust Foxburrow Farm; 10am to 3.30pm approx.
Address: Saddlemakers Lane, Melton, Woodbridge, IP12 1NA
Saturday 1 March 2014 Suffolk Wild Life Trust Redgrave and Lopham Fen, 10am to 3.30pm approx.
Address: Low Common Road, South Lopham, Diss, IP22 2HX
In Kent, Brogdale Collections is holding ‘Grafting Courses’ at Brogdale on:
Saturday 18 January 2014 and Saturday 25 January 2014
Adddress: Brogdale Farm, Brogdale Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8XZ
Such fruit groups and organisations often sell the rootstooks that you need and the tools, such as grafting knives, binding tape and so on, as well make available scion wood of varieties.
It is possible to buy scion wood yourself and of most of the apple and pear varieties in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale are available and can be obtained from FAST, the organisation responsible for maintenance of the Collection.