Learn how to graft your own trees

Sunday 19 April 2015 11am – 1pm
Come to the orchard and learn how to graft fruit trees. We will provide all the tools you need. Rootstocks are available to buy at £5 each (cash – exact money only –  or cheque). You can take home your newly grafted tree, ready to plant. We have a range of varieties to graft onto the rootstocks, or you can bring a scion (a thin straight new twig) from an existing apple tree that you have, so that you can increase your trees.

(Please bring/wear clothes suitable for changeable spring conditions and outdoor work)

grafting tools

Grafting pears onto quince

Visiting other orchards is always a delight, even in the winter weather. This time, I was practicing my grafting skills by helping to take grafts from some veteran pear trees. If you have an old tree, grafting is a good way of renewing it, and it isn’t something you need to be scared of. As long as you take your time and take some care, it’s very simple.

You need some very basic kit – we used a good sharp pruning knife each, some grafting tape and/or wax for holding the graft together, and of course some string and labels so that you can remember which twig was which! Have an old chopping board or another smooth heavy surface to work on.
grafting tools

Because we were grafting pears we used quince for the rootstock, and just made a simple slip graft to attach the pear scion. Then it was sealed up tight with tape, making sure there was wood to wood connection all the way along the graft.

pear scions IMG_1029

Finally we potted them up, labelled them – and went back into the warm for a cup of coffee and an apple slice!

potted up

Maintenance Mornings

How are your New Year Resolutions holding up? If you made any that involved getting fitter, getting out into the fresh air more often, helping the community, learning new skills, enjoying nature… You can fulfil them all at the orchard, just by coming along to one of our Monthly Maintenance Mornings. These are run from 11am – 1pm, on the 2nd Sunday and the 4th Thursday of the month from 10am  12 noon. (Yes, that’s a bit complicated  – dates are listed below)
We provide all the tools you’ll need, and instruction, tuition and help. You just need to wear appropriate outdoor clothing. You don’t have to stay for the whole session, and children are welcome to come along too, as long as you can supervise them and keep them away from sharp tools. There’s a variety of tasks to get stuck into throughout the year, not just with the trees but with all the habitats the orchard supports. In the summer you can even learn about bees.

So come along to a session or two and make supporting the orchard the one resolution that will last all through the year.

Maintenance Morning Dates 2015 (Sundays 11am – 1pm, Thursdays 10 – 12)
Sunday 8 February
Thursday 26 February
Sunday 8 March
Thursday 26 March
Sunday 12 April
Thursday 23 April
Sunday 10 May
Thursday 28 May
Sunday 14 June
Thursday 25 June
Sunday 12 July
Thursday 23 July
Sunday 9 August
Thursday 27 August
Sunday 13 September
Thursday 24 September
Sunday 11 October
Thursday 22 October
Sunday 8 November
Thursday 26 November
Sunday 13 December
Thursday 24 December (this one probably won’t happen!)

As ever, subscribe to our emails and check the Facebook page for reminders of these dates and further information as to what we will be doing.

Gardeners all kitted out

Gardeners all kitted out. This is from Quex Park in Kent, in 1883. Basic tools haven’t changed much.

More wassail photos

Jaqueline Douglas has sent us some more photos from this year’s Wassail – thanks very much Jacqueline they are great. Hopefully with all this attention the trees will produce a bumper crop, and at the very least we must have chased away any lurking ‘evil spirits’, harmful bugs and any other nasties from the orchard.
wassail 2015 8 JD wassail 2015 9 JD wassail 2015 10 JD wassail 2015 11 JD wassail 2015 12 JD wassail 2015 13 JD wassail 2015 14 JDAnd here are some more – from Axel. Thanks so much for sharing these lovely images. wassail 2015 17 A wassail 2015 18 A wassail 2015 19 A wassail 2015 20 A wassail 2015 21 A khZ5OKzX-6rmrrxDDOQSgFHBHZfkmYpJUVHtbiQogxTCwtItWkLQ6DUcsjDA6qHouPQePA=w893-h486 wassail 2015 22 A wassail 2015 23 A

Words of wonder at the Wassail

This year we had Storyteller, Malcolm Busby at our wassail, enthralling the audience with the traditional tale of the ‘Apple Tree Man’, who was believed to live in Herefordshire orchards, but, who knows, maybe he will move over to East Anglia, with all this wassailing to warm him. Malcolm really looked the part, dressed all in green. You can contact Malcolm on storyteller@malcolmbusby.co.uk if you’d like to hire him.

Trumpington Community Orchard  is proud to be a local, community project, and that was certainly evident at the wassail. So many thanks to all those who helped out, including Dave Osbaldeson, who performed on his cornet, Julia, who sang, Liz who put posters all around the villages, and Susanna and Ceri who did everything else. And thanks to everyone who turned up, sang, danced and took photos. Was Hael (Good Health) to you all.
wassail 2015 7

 

Wassail photos 2015

It was a beautiful, crisp, cold day for our Wonderful Wassail. We had musicians, singers, dancers and a Green Man. A big thank you to Ursula Stubbings for her work on a dance and for bringing along a good sized group of musicians who made the whole event really enjoyable. The trees were decorated with slices of toast dipped in the wassail cup and everyone enjoyed a cup of hot mulled apple juice which kept the bitter cold at bay.

wassail 2015 1 wassail 2015 2 wassail 2015 3 wassail 2015 4 wassail 2015 5 wassail 2015 6

Wonderful Wassail Sunday 18 January 2015

It’s nearly here! Not long now! No, I am not talking about the Winter Solstice, or even Christmas Day, but our Wonderful Wassail. We have set the date for Sunday 18 January 2015. Come to the orchard in time for a 3pm start. If you are a musician, bring your instrument and join in the wassailing songs. (Um, unless your instrument requires electricity – we don’t have that). If you are, like me, more of a noise maker than a musician, bring something noisy – a wooden spoon and a saucepan is quite traditional. (Firearms are very traditional at wassails, but don’t bring them!)

Now if you’ve patiently read this far, wondering what on earth a Wassail might be, I will explain. A wassail has been a drinking toast, a carol, a sort of a communal begging exercise and a bowl of hot spiced ale. But for centuries it has been a celebration of apple trees, a ceremony to bless them and encourage them to bear fruit. During the Protestant Reformation it was even made illegal, but it carried on regardless. We grow heritage varieties of apple trees in this orchard, so we felt it was only fitting to revive the wassailing tradition.

When you come as a guest to our Wassail, you will be singing, making a noise and dancing from tree to tree. We encourage you to dress the trees with ribbons, ornaments and safe lights. There will be mulled apple juice for you to drink, and to pour around the trees!

We usually gather around the oldest and largest tree to sing a wassail carol and recite this poem:
Here’s to thee, old apple tree,
Whence thou mayst bud
And whence thou mayst blow!
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow!
Hats full! Caps full!
Bushel—bushel—sacks full,
And my pockets full too – Hurrah!

Come one, come all. We hope to see you there.

PRACTICAL DETAILS
Wear warm clothes and welly boots. Please park considerately on nearby residential streets. Bring a torch. We do not have any toilet facilities on site or nearby. The event is free, but donations are very welcome.

Gardeners’ Question Time gets to the root of it

Last week Gardener’s Question Time, or #GQT as we fans call it, came to Murray Edwards College, in the University of Cambridge. Murray Edwards has beautiful gardens, taking advantage of its sheltered spot to favour a sub-tropical theme. And, horror of horrors, students and staff are allowed to walk and sit on the grass, an act of sacriledge in most other colleges.
Two founder members of Trumpington Community Orchard were the excited guests of Jo Cobb, Head Gardener at the College. We had both come armed with questions and one was the first to be chosen! Before the nervous moment of reading out a question to the elite team of Chris Beadshaw, Christine Walkden and Bob Flowerdew, the Chairman Eric Robson put us all at ease with gentle banter, and encouraged us to laugh at the panel’s jokes. As I said to him after the recording, have I really been listening to him for twenty years? We agreed that he’s made a good start and if he keeps at it, he might make something of a go of it…
So, the question –  We asked about the apple trees that will be grown across Cambridge by the Cambridge Community Collection art project – what rootstock will be best for the variable conditions these new trees will encounter, and what other support might they need? This set the wise heads of the panel thinking. They gave a very full answer, and some suggestions. In order to find out what they thought, you’ll have to listen to the broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Friday 31st October at 3pm, or Sunday 2 November at 2pm. Insider’s tip – they may change the order of the questions when they edit the programme!

The road to fame is paved with – apples?

Last week I thought that I really should remind Essex University what I was doing, as Apple Day was approaching, so I did, and we came up with an approach to the local media. Cambridge News took up the story, and I hope to be interviewed by BBC Radio Essex next Tuesday evening as well. Apples as drive-time phone-in conversation, I love it!
Yesterday was the first of a series of academic talks, to the Gender and History Workshop at Cambridge University. At the end of the month I am talking to Tadlow Gardening Society. I’m going to need a limo and an agent and big pair of sunglasses soon…
Joking aside I am so glad that there is such interest in all things apple related, and long may it last. And if anyone wants to book me for a talk, as they say in Hollywood ‘have your people talk to my people’ Or in other words, send an email!
Apple History Student in Local Paper

get the juices flowing

I love autumn. I enjoy the colours of leaves and sky, the sudden nip in the air that makes snuggling up in a jumper and going for a long walk the best way to spend a day. And I love harvesting  – allotments, gardens, orchards, hedgerows and unloved green spaces all have something to offer. For instance, there are quince trees at some of the Park and Ride areas, loaded with fruit.
For us, that harvesting began a few weeks ago with a community juicing. As you can see from the photos, it was a big success. Look out for other juicing events around Cambridge (or your local area, if you are reading this from far away). The results are always delicious.

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