Veins on Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Rotfuchs’.
Veins on Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Rotfuchs’.
Many thanks to Squirrelbasket for hosting this monthly meme #Treefollowing
So far my James Grieve Apple Tree has not done much this year, except survive snow, hail, high winds, and then even higher winds from storm Doris.
It’s not expected to show any signs of growth for perhaps another 3-4 weeks.
So until all the fun starts, let me tell you about an Apple Tree Grafting workshop I attended a few Sundays ago.
The course was run by a group called Grafters and Growers, and they are a Leicestershire based group set up with the aim of promoting varieties of Apple that have originated from within the county of Leicestershire.
Grafters and Growers are the practical arm of the Leicestershire Heritage Apples Project. (LHAP).
More info http://www.heritageorchard.co.uk/
The aim of the grafting workshop that I attended was to be shown how to graft 2 Heritage Apple varieties onto 2 root-stocks with the overall aim of going home with two viable plants to be grown on and mapped for part of the Virtual Orchard Project, The home grafter (me), becoming the plants guardians.
2 rootstock of MM106 were provided for us.
The MM106 is a good rootstock to use as it is compatible with all types of apple varieties, It is considered as a semi-dwarfing type which reaches 3-4m (10-13ft) x 4m (13ft) at an ultimate height.
It starts fruiting at about 3 – 4 years.
It is tolerant of a range of soils including grassy orchards and poor soils.
We were also provided with lots of varieties of Heritage apples for us to choose which 2 varieties to graft.
The first half of the session was a general chat about apples, the whys and wherefores of grafting, and about how many heritage varieties were originally discovered in hedgerows, and re-discovered in old orchards.
Did you know …that Apple Varieties discovered growing in hedgerows along older roads tend to be from Cider or Cooking Apples, whereas Apples found in hedgerows along much newer roads tend to be eating apples.
Did you know… it takes around 6 years from growing an apple from pip to tasting the fruit from that plant.
The rest of the session involved practicing taking a graft on some spare apple wood before the main event.
The types of grafts that we were undertaking during the session were called the ‘V’ Graft or Cleft Graft. It’s a reliable and strong graft, and arguably one of the easiest types of graft to do.
The new variety to be grafted onto the rootstock is called the Scion wood.
The Scion wood was prepared into a V shape about an inch long with preferably a bud included.
A slightly blurry picture of the rootstock being prepared with a slit also about an inch deep ready to accommodate the scion wood.
This was the demonstration graft done by our instructor on the day. (Mine looked more informal).
Sounds easy, well it wasn’t…. It’s very fiddly and you are using a very sharp blade which adds to the drama of it all. I’m please to report no blood was spilled and I completed my two efforts.
The 2 heritage varieties that I chose to graft were…
Did you know … The Apple Blossom on Leicestershire Trees are ahead about 2 weeks before Apple Trees in Kent blossom, this is because the days are slightly longer here.
And did you know… That blossoming times for Apple trees can vary up to two weeks either side of the stated date for that variety in the reference books, a Bramley Variety is a good reference point as it is a good mid-season blossoming Apple Tree.
I’ve placed the two pots of grafts in a sheltered place that will still receive some rain. I’ve got to keep an eye on those buds later in the spring in the hope that the grafts have taken.
If the results are good or bad, you’ll find out through this blog in due course.
Many thanks to Grafters and Growers and The Leicestershire Heritage Apples Project for holding the Grafting Course.
The weather in February started off quite balanced, and reasonable, but ended with a blast by Storm Doris, who helped herself to several fence panels, and the felt off my shed roof, but did leave me with someone’s tent, 2 parts of a plastic Christmas Tree and an empty shoebox.
I was recently invited to attend The Hodsock Priory event to launch the 2017 snowdrop season.
I have never been able to attend before so I made sure this was going to be the year I visited.
This is the 26th consecutive year that the snowdrop event has been held.
The event runs daily 10am-4pm from Saturday 4 February to Sunday 5 March 2017. Continue reading
The theme of the month was how many different types of weather could be fit into one day.
Mixtures of Fog, Rain, High Winds, Sunshine, more Rain and a Flurry of Snow were included.
Rainfall was 57.9 mm which was surprisingly less than previous years, although it certainly felt like we have received more.