Well, we did not have the rootstock for grafting, but we were able to prune the trees. Because the trees in our orchard are one of each variety, they each have their own character and habit, and some are certainly developing what can only be described as personalities. This makes pruning them a bit more of an art than a science, but what we are aiming for is a nice open shape, with no central leader shooting up to the sky, and no spindly, crooked or crossing branches. Yes, it was cold, yes it was grey, but the orchard has charm, even on days like these.  As L H Bailey put it in 1922:

‘The winter apple-tree in the free is a reassuring object. It has none of the sleekness of many horticultural forms, nor the fragility of peaches, sour cherries and plums. It stands boldly against the sky, with its elbows at all angles and its scaly bark holding the snow. Against evergreens it shows its ruggedness specially well. It presents forms to attract the artist. Even when gnarly and broken, it does not convey an impression of decrepitude and decay but rather of a hardy old character bearing his burdens. In every winter landscape I look instinctively for the apple tree.’

L. H. Bailey. The Apple-Tree / The Open Country Books—No. 1 (New York 1922)

Pruning lesson