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Archive for January, 2014

Graft Your Own Apple and Pear Tree

Grafting Course held by Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group in 2013

Grafting Course held by Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group in 2013

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.

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Late Gold cider apple

Late Gold cider apple

Many visitors to Fruit Forum will have read the articles and comments from the late Alan Rowe on this Blog and the main website. They will remember him as an enthusiastic horticulturalist with interests in vines, wines, and apples, especially cider apples and perry pears. He was always keen to improve on his trees by doing a little crossing and his garden held many interesting new selections.  As a very good friend, he asked me to look after his latest cider apple protégé, Late Gold of which he was duly proud. Before he died he gave me some propagation material so that trees could be distributed.

Late Gold is a cross between full bittersweets Medaille d’Or and Yarlington Mill. Late Gold inherits the best qualities of Yarlington; its easy-going forbearance with less than ideal orchard conditions, its tolerance to disease and its good fruit size. Medaille d’Or gives it superior vintage quality and carries with it heavy astringent tannin. Late Gold trees are moderately vigorous, reasonably regular cropping but flower late, towards the end of May. It could prove a very useful and robust late maturing variety and should certainly make some good cider. It would be especially useful for blending with the juice of dessert and culinary fruit and should certainly improve the flavour and colour of the cider.

Young trees are just becoming available from the John Worle Nursery ready for distribution. To obtain a tree please go direct to John Worle’s nursery website www.johnworle.co.uk

Liz Copas

Liz Copas is a pomologist, a distinguished cider apple authority, author of A Somerset Pomona and the forthcoming The New Pomona; she is also a botanic artist.

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