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We are planning a few events for 2021, coronavirus permitting. They will be dependent on social distancing and mask wearing restrictions being lifted.

With that proviso, here are this year's proposed events:
Sun 12 Sep, Garden/Family Day, Leicester University Bot Gdn. 10am-5pm.
Sat 2 Oct, Apple Day, Cotesbach Hall. (event was cancelled)
Sun 10 Oct, Apple Day, Donisthorpe Orchard, 11am - 3pm.
Thur 14 Oct, Leics Heritage Apples Talk, Snarestone School, 7.30pm.
Sat 23 Oct, Apple Day, Cosby Methodist Church Hall. 12.00-3.30 pm.
Sun 24 Oct, Apple Day; private group near Coventry by arrangement, 12.00-3.00 pm.

Our next all-day grafting courses will be in Feb 2022 at our usual venue at Cosby.
Saturday 19th Feb. SORRY - COURSE FULL.


....COVENTRY APPLE DAY, Sun 24 Oct....
Our final Apple Day of the season was on the outskirts of Coventry, for a private allotment group.

It was a fascinating afternoon; Greg and Mark made us very welcome; there was apple juicing, apple identifying (the trees on the plot), a nice warm camp fire and music. It was the first allotment group I'd visited where there was a functioning piano on the premises. The trees on the plot still containing apples were Bramley, Adam's Pearmain, Golden Delicious, a green apple resembling Edward VII, a russet (probably Brownlees), Monarch in the undergrowth on the top right, and Ribston. There was also a slender tree with no fruit in the right-hand border which was probably a Cox's Orange.

Lunch was in the fresh air around the fire, after an apple tasting using the same 8 apples as yesterday plus the Rosie apple (bitter-sweet), the Croft Sharp (bitter-sharp) and the local Wyken Pippin, from just outside the town. Those sampling the apples expressed surprise and interest in the appearance and flavour of the fruit.

coventry Apple Day  2021 coventry Apple Day  2021

Thanks to the efforts of Coventry City Council (street sign department) I was unable on the outward journey to know quite where we were going, and on return I had little idea where we'd been. It was the second time in a week we'd been confused by the Coventry road system. Nevertheless Alison got us there and back using her maps and making one telephone call when we were within range.

24 Oct 21

....COSBY APPLE DAY, Sat 23 Oct....
I am pleased to report a successful and popular Apple Day at Cosby; about 150 people attended and we were busy talking about apples and grafting and other things for about three and a half hours. Many people brought apples for identification; I identified about 50. We had lots of old favourites: Golden Noble, Adam's Pearmain, Egremont Russet, Golden Delicious, Allens Everlasting, Gala, Gladstone and others. Alison brought along, for sale, twenty-two single-variety apple jams and did most of the organization and advertising. Thank to all who attended, and to those who registered interest in our grafting course in Feb: we will be getting in touch soon.

We arranged a tasting of eight apples with varied flavours, including some unreleased seedlings, and thirty-four people had a go at tasting all of them and voting for their favourite. As usual the redfleshed apples attracted lots of comment and some surprise. Results of the tasting (no of votes cast) were as follows:

8 Potters Marston
6 Red Dwarf (our seedling 4815)
6 Ashmead Kernel
3 Salad Apple (our seedling 0811)
4 Roter Alatau
3 Huonville Crab
3 Orleans Reinette
1 Brownlees Russet

I think the time has probably come for an expansion of the number of people who eat apples. Some of the apples above (the redfleshed ones) have flavours so unusual that it's difficult to imagine a world where, with better communication, no-one wants to eats them. It will be interesting to see which ones become popular over the next decade. We were also pleased to note some takers for our grafting course, 19 Feb 2022.

Some pictures of our display are shown below, taken before the crowds arrived.

Cosby Apple Day  2021 Cosby Apple Day  2021
Cosby Apple Day  2021 Cosby Apple Day  2021
Cosby Apple Day  2021 Cosby Apple Day  2021

23 Oct 21

We were pleased to give our first talk since the virus from China hit us last year. Our venue was the Primary school in Snareston, North Leicestershire. The talk was in two parts: some background on apples in general and heritage apples, followed by an account of how we found the lost Leicestershire apples. An enthusiastic audience of 23 people from Snareston gardening group asked lots of questions; so much so that our normal 60-minute talk extended to almost 90 minutes.

We brought a display of about 30 apple varieties and people were able to try nine of them including some of our own seedlings, along with Martin's Custard and the Packington apple; two Leicestershire varieties. Covid precautions were strictly followed during the tasting.

15 Oct 21

Apple Tasting 1, 10 Aug 2021: Earlies
Apple Tasting 2, 28 Aug 2021: More earlies
Apple Tasting 3, 10 Sep 2021: Early midseason
Apple Tasting 4, 21 Sep 2021: Midseason
Apple Tasting 5, 7 Oct 2021: Later Midseason

11 Oct 21

The apple event went smoothly; lots of things happening: some very melodious folk songs (written for the event and based on local history), LHAP apple tastings, and lots of home-made local produce on sale.

There was considerable interest in the apple tastings; we showed six appples available commercially as trees (though not as fruit in England) plus a couple of our own seedlings: one a novelty variety with scarlet flesh; the other a very sweet apple similar to the American apple Wickson. Click on the thumbnails below for bigger pictures. Over fifty people tried all 8 apples and nominated a favourite. The results were:

18 Honeycrisp
12 Laxton's Fortune
8 Seedling 4213 (scarlet flesh)
8 Norfolk Royal Russet
7 Seedling 2016 (Wickson-related)
4 Limelight
1 Herefordshire Russet
0 Roter Mond

Nevertheless the results should be taken with a pinch of salt; it's difficult designing a good voting system. Many people made favourable comments about Herefordshire Russet (and some about Roter Mond), but coming second meant zero on our very simple scoresheet.

My attempt at identifying the trees in the orchard is here . Note that the 'New Apple' on the map (I drew it several years ago) has now fruited and it looks like Marriage Maker, a Leicestershire variety.

The orchard is the ideal setting for the event.. It is secluded, pictureque and self-contained; ideal for children because there is no nearby traffic. However, nearby birch, poplar and other trees have been planted close by, and one hopes that these can be removed before they get too big. They are beginning to shade the fruit trees. Forest trees and fruit trees do not mix.

Please note our big Apple Day at Cosby on 23rd October at the Methodist Church on Park Rd. 12.00-3.30 pm. You may have seen the posters.

10 Oct 21

Pleased to report that we were able to run our apple tasting at the Garden Plant and Family Day at the Botanical Garden. This was the first time we had used Beaumont House, and it is an excellent venue; lots of space, no crowding and plenty of interested visitors. The Knoll lawn was in use, and several other areas we had seen before. Apple tasted included three of our own seedlings (we are apple breeders) plus Laxton's Fortune, Summerfield, James Grieve, Discovery and Katy. Each person was asked to taste all 8 and vote for his/her favourite. Laxton's Fortune was most popular with Summerfield second. The results table is shown below:

14 Laxton's Fortune
8 Summerfield
5 James Grieve
5 ND seedling 3614
3 ND seedling 0514
3 ND seedling 4815
1 Katy
0 Discovery

All apples attracted positive comments, including Discovery, which many people liked - though most liked Laxton's Fortune even more.

We will be running other apple tastings at our events at Cotesbach, Donisthorpe and Cosby.

12 Sep 21

Our first apple tasting of the year took place on 10 Aug with Julie Drake - the first we have done since the chaos of 2020. The link for it is below; we hope to do more soon.

Apple Tasting 1, 10 Aug 2021: Earlies
Apple Tasting 2, 28 Aug 2021: More earlies

11 and 29 Aug 21

The apple crop in Leicestershire seems to be looking quite good. The blossom was a few days earlier than the average; first blossom for us was about 18 Apr. First apples picked were Sweetings; end-July (about a fortnight late). Norfolk Rattlebox ripened at about the same time and Beauty of Bath is almost ready now (4 Aug).

4 Aug 21

Sorry to report that the coronavirus has led to us having to cancel in-person courses this year.

However Mel is doing some online grafting courses which are being well-received. See her web page for details. I lack the computer expertise.

4 Mar 21

Nigel Deacon / Mel Wilson /Alison Deacon

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