Cambridge Community Collection – update

The Cambridge Community Collection, an ambitious art project that will involve planting one of every type of apple tree, is going well. But the trees that have already been planted, close to the orchard, need our help to get them through this hot weather. So, we have organised a joint maintenance session for all interested volunteers.
Meet at the orchard at 11am on Sunday 12 July. We intend to spend an hour looking after the trees there, before moving on to those we planted along the Guided Busway. Please wear outdoor, working shoes and bring a waterproof and/or a bottle of water to allow for all types of summer weather.

This photo shows all the lovely new trees that have been grafted at Brogdale, all growing happily away in the best of conditions.

Midsummer picnic – do we have secret helpers??

Down in the orchard
Hidden from view
The fairies created
Some glittery clues

Under the hedgerow?
Behind a tree?
Fairies hide treasure
So carefully.

We’ve written some hints
To show you the way
To find out the pebbles
Join in, this Sunday!

And if you are careful
And use all your mind
At the end of the puzzling
Some treasure you’ll findfairy pebblesThe Midsummer Picnic is happening this Sunday, 21st June, from 12:30 – 3pm. There is story telling and an art activity as well as a treasure hunt around the orchard. Look for full details on our Events page.

Midsummer Picnic 21 June 2015

As I write this, the rain is lashing down outside, and the temperature is ‘well below the seasonal average’, which is Met Office speak for ‘too flipping cold.’ However, we are nothing if not optimistic in the Orchard, and so I am looking forward to our Midsummer Picnic. We are holding this on Sunday 21 June, from 12:30pm. There will be story telling, a treasure hunt and art activities (suitable for young children.)
Bring your own picnic and a rug, and come along to enjoy the atmosphere of the orchard on Midsummer’s Day. This event is just £2 per person or £5 for a family group.
We will be on hand to give advice on the care of fruit trees in your own garden, and on all related topics.
I am looking forward to this event so much – bring on Summer!


Apple blossom time

The blossom is looking lovely here in our community orchard in Trumpington , so why not take a bank holiday outing to see it, or to visit a community orchard near you? If you take any photos, email them to me and I will put them on the website or Facebook page.
apple blossom2 apple blossom1

Harston Community Orchard Spring Walk

Today I cycled across from one village to the next (negotiating that Cambridgeshire rarity, a slight incline) to see Harson Community Orchard. The weather was perfect, the people were happy and the cakes were all home made.  There were demonstrations of wood craft from the Green Wood group and Cambridge Wood Works, and the Wildlife Trust was there as well. What more could I want from an orchard open day? Well, I got an excellent tour from one of the volunteers, Andy. He really knew his stuff and his enthusiasm for the orchard shone through. The orchard is a remnant of one that was planted about 60 years ago, and it’s sited next to the Recreation Ground. New trees have been planted, and the whole site is being managed to support wildlife and biodiversity. As you can see from my photos, the older trees have real personalities. I am going to make another expedition there when the blossom is fully open in a couple of weeks. I’ll have to bring my own cake…
harston 1 harston 2 harston 3 harston 4 harston 5 harston 6 harston 7 harston 8

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 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