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LEICESTERSHIRE APPLES NEWS 2022

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EVENTS 2022
We are now approaching normality again; a very busy 'apples' year for us with five grafting workshops taking place; all of them full or oversubscribed. Apple events this year; LHAP unless stated otherwise:

Thur 13 Jan Scion collection at Cotesbach Hall
Sat 22 Jan Orchard Pruning at Cotesbach Hall
Thur 27 Jan 7pm Zoom talk on setting up an orchard; for CFLPS*
Sat 19 Feb Cosby Apple Grafting Course (all-day); Cosby Methodist Church Hall
Sun 20 Feb Great Easton Grafting Workshop 1, morning; in the Village Hall
Sun 20 Feb Great Easton Grafting Workshop 2, afternoon; in the Village Hall
Mon 21 Feb Grafting session: Assisting Lubenham Grafters & Growers
Sun 6 Mar Whitwick Grafting Workshop, 10.30 - 12.30, Whitwick Park Hall; for CFLPS*
Sat 12 Mar Quorn , Grafting Workshop, 2pm - 4pm. Old School Hall; for CFLPS*
Tues 26 Apr Orchard Maintenance afternoon, (not LHAP), Sarah's Orchard
Wed 27 Apr: Final pruning session, Suttonelms Orchard
Tues 10 May, Orchard Maintenance afternoon, (not LHAP), Sarah's Orchard
Sun 26 Jun, Leics University Botanical Garden Plant Day, 10am - 5pm
Sat 2 Jul, Orchard Tidy-Up, Sarah's Orchard, 12.00-1700
Sat 17 Sep, Apple tasting/flavours (not LHAP), Coventry Old Cathedral; 1pm-5pm
Sat 8 Oct, Apple Day, applpe tasting at Cotesbach Hall, 10.30am - 4pm
Sun 9 Oct, Apple Day, apple tasting at Donisthorpe, 11.00am - 3pm


*CFLPS is the Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme (see Whitwick & Quorn courses, below).

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2023 COSBY APPLE GRAFTING COURSE (5hr)
Will run next on the third Saturday in Feb, 2023. If interested please email. I'll be taking bookings in Nov-Dec 2022.


DONISTHORPE ORCHARD, SUN 9 SEP 22
Nigel and Alison attended the apple event at Donisthorpe, 10.30am - 3pm. This was run by their community volunteers group; in addition to our apple tasting there were stalls run by the local historical / heritage group, another on beekeeping, another from the Woodland Trust, groups selling locally-made cakes and pickles, apple pressing, a cider competition, and some excellent folk singing. The weather was mild and sunny and 80 people participated in our apple tasting, sampling 8 unusual varieties (the same as the ones used yesterday at Cotesbach) and choosing their favourite. We combined the scores from both weekend events and the results are shown below. Click the thumbnail pictures for a better view.

Norfolk Royal Russet came top, but the very attractive Peaches & Cream (from Austria) came a close second, and its appearance attracted comment from virtually everyone who came to see us. . The tart-sweet Little Dennis came third.

Donisthorpe Apple Event and family day, Oct 2022... Donisthorpe Apple Event and family day, Oct 2022

Donisthorpe Apple Event and family day, Oct 2022... Donisthorpe Apple Event and family day, Oct 2022...

Donisthorpe Apple Event and family day, Oct 2022... Donisthorpe Apple Event and family day, Oct 2022...

9 Oct 2022


COTESBACH HALL, SAT 8 SEP 22
Nigel and Alison attended the apple event at Cotesbach Hall, 10.30am - 4pm, in the stable yard, with a collection of unusual apples. The weather was kind; delicious food from the cafe was available (thanks Annie et. al) and there was apple pressing and apple tasting all day.We were pleased to speak to visitors from far afield, including Hampshire and Bedfordshire, as well as lots of people living locally. There are a few snaps below; click the thumbnails for bigger pictures. The apples we used were: Leicester Burton Pippin, Weirouge, Roter Mond, Peaches & Cream, Norfolk Royal Russet, Surprize, Little Dennis and Lord Lambourne.

Cotesbach Apple Event and wassailing evening, Oct 2022... Cotesbach Apple Event and wassailing evening, Oct 2022... Cotesbach Apple Event and wassailing evening, Oct 2022

Cotesbach Apple Event and wassailing evening, Oct 2022... Cotesbach Apple Event and wassailing evening, Oct 2022

On a slightly different subject - it was good to learn that the Cotesbach tree planting earlier in the year had been carried out and that the 20-odd apple trees we donated (original seedlings from our breeding programme no longer required by us) had all survived the drought.

9 Oct 2022


COVENTRY OLD CATHEDRAL, SAT 17 SEP 22
Food and music event at the Cathedral Ruins; organized by Greg Muldoon of the Food Union. Meticulously planned and well-attended; well done to all concerned. Nigel and Alison were there displaying a dazzling range of shapes, colours and flavours from a wide variety of apples. Some were Heritage apples; others were seedlings from their breeding programme. 66 people tried the 8 varieties offered for tastings. The tasting results are shown below. Click the thumbnail picture below for a clearer view.


Coventry Food and Music Festival, Sep 2022

The varieties:
Seedling 7216: a deep redfleshed apple with tart fruity flavour
Seedling 2016: a descendant of Wickson, with the characteristic tart-sweet flavour of its famous parent
James Grieve: A well-known heritage apple
Sunburst: A rich-flavoured pinkfleshed apple recently released by Frank Matthews Nurseries
Norfolk Royal Russet: an old variety from Norfolk with rich russety flavour
Seedling 6215: A descendant of Ribston with different flavour palette and equal sweetness
Laxton's Fortune: One of the best-flavoured midseason apples
Seedling 6716: A deep redfleshed fruit; tart, with strong blackcurrant flavour notes

Sunburst received most votes (22), but it is interesting to note that the tart-sweet seedlings also scored 22 votes between them. Thumbnail pictures below; click for the detail.


Coventry Food and Music Festival, Sep 2022 ...Coventry Food and Music Festival, Sep 2022
Coventry Food and Music Festival, Sep 2022 ...Coventry Food and Music Festival, Sep 2022

I am compiling a series of apple tasting videos with a friend, and the next one will feature some of the apples seen at Coventry. Meanwhile you may be interested in seeing our previous video, episode 2 from 2022-23, on Youtube.

Those of you who are keen on redfleshed apples should note that Frank Matthews Nurseries now have Hidden Rose in their catalogue - and Sunburst, today's most popular apple.

17 Sep 2022


ORCHARD AFTERNOON: SARAH'S ORCHARD, SUN 3 JUL 22
An enthusiastic group of helpers turned up today for several hours to tidy up the orchard; we are removing the cages around the young trees and improving the protection on the trunks of the trees. This should result in less rabbit damage. A few pictures are shown below of the tidied section and the participants.


Orchard tidy-up, 3 Jul 2022 Orchard tidy-up, 3 Jul 2022
Orchard tidy-up, 3 Jul 2022 Orchard tidy-up, 3 Jul 2022

3 Jul 2022


LEICESTER UNIVERSITY: BOTANIC GARDEN, SUN 26 JUN 22
Another successful Plant Sale / Family Day at the botanical garden; LHAP was based in the dining room at Beaumont House, which is a lot bigger than the room we used to use in The Knoll, and we had lots of interest from people keen to learn more about fruit trees and how to propagate them. Our next all-day grafting course at Cosby will be on the third Saturday of February next year; more information will be put on here soon. This year's course was 35; unfortunately next year's will be more than this because costs have gone up, including the room hire.


Leicester University Plant and Family Day 2022 Leicester University Plant and Family Day 2022
Leicester University Plant and Family Day 2022 Leicester University Plant and Family Day 2022

27 Jun 2022


QUORN GRAFTING COURSE, SAT 12 MAR 22

Quorn grafting workshop, 2022 Quorn grafting workshop, 2022 Quorn grafting workshop, 2022
Quorn grafting workshop, 2022 Quorn grafting workshop, 2022 Quorn grafting workshop, 2022
Quorn grafting workshop, 2022 Quorn grafting workshop, 2022 Quorn grafting workshop, 2022

This workshop took place in the Quorn Old School Hall. An enthusiastic group of 14 students were given an introductory talk on grafting: the reasons we do it, the two main methods, and how to look after the trees for the first few months, when they need constant care. More trees were donated to the Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme, and most of the rest were taken away for planting in other local orchards and gardens.

The varieties on offer were again Belvoir Seedling, Prince Charles, Sweetings, Dumelow's Seedling, St. Ailred, Leicester Burton Pippin and Langton's Nonesuch. It is good to get these uncommon varieties out into the community. It's important that trees like this are labelled and mapped so that people in the future know what they are.

Thanks to Carolyn again for organising the event for CFLPS, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

12 Mar 2022


WHITWICK GRAFTING COURSE, SUN 6 MAR 22

Whitwick grafting workshop, 2022 Whitwick grafting workshop, 2022 Whitwick grafting workshop, 2022 Whitwick grafting workshop, 2022 Whitwick grafting workshop, 2022 Whitwick grafting workshop, 2022

This workshop took place in the Whitwick Park Hall and was ably organised by Carolyn Holmes. Each student was issued with an illustrated booklet on how to graft, and Mel and Nigel talked about reasons for grafting, the mechanics of the two basic techniques, and aftercare of the trees. Some of the trees were donated to the Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme, which aims to plant useful trees, with local participation, in the Charnwood area. The scheme is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Dave Holden provided assistance and took photographs, as did Carolyn; the ones above are just snaps taken by Nigel on his mobile phone.

There were two last-minute absences because of positive Covid tests, but other than that, everything went smoothly.

The varieties on offer were Belvoir Seedling, Prince Charles, Sweetings, Dumelow's Seedling, St. Ailred and Langton's Nonesuch, the variety we recovered from Germany.

Many thanks to Carolyn for organising the event.

6 Mar 2022

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LUBENHAM GRAFTERS & GROWERS, Mon 21 Feb

Assisting Grafters & Growers, Lubenham, 2022 Assisting Grafters & Growers, Lubenham, 2022

Each year, Judith Egan holds some informal grafting sessions to construct Leicestershire (and other) apple trees which are distributed & planted around Market Harborough and mapped in a 'virtual orchard'. The picture shows Paul, Gabriella and Judith working steadily towards their target of grafting one hundred trees in a few days. I was pleased to be asked to help for a couple of hours.

21 Feb 2022

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GREAT EASTON GRAFTING COURSES, SUN 20 FEB 22

Great Easton grafting workshops, 2022 Great Easton grafting workshops, 2022

Great Easton grafting workshops, 2022 Great Easton grafting workshops, 2022 Great Easton grafting workshops, 2022

Great Easton grafting workshops, 2022 Great Easton grafting workshops, 2022

Grafting workshops completed at Great Easton; 20 Feb, presented by Mel Wilson, Nigel and Alison. There were two 2-hour workshops (10.30-12.30 and 1.30-3.30), in which students were given a brief introduction to grafting; the reasons for doing it and the mechanics of carrying it out; the cleft graft, favoured by Mel, and the whip & tongue graft, favoured by Nigel. The sessions were carried out in the Church Hall and were organised by Bob Mitchell and Teresa Chapman, as part of the Great Easton Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The sessions were popular (15 people on each, and more on a waiting list) and were generously subsidised by "Walk on the Wild Side", a practical component of the Great Easton "Platinum Treebilee". To quote their brochure: "...we have teamed up with the Leicestershire heritage Apple Project which promotes, rediscovers and grows apples with are unique to Leicestershire". Sixty trees were grafted during the day, most of which will be planted locally.

There were six Leicestershire varieties available to graft:

Leicester Burton Pippin: dual purpose (cooker in Sept; dessert in Oct)
Prince Charles: dessert, earlymidseason
Sweetings: very early dessert
Belvoir Seedling: late dessert
Dumelow's Seedling: late midseason cooker
Langton's Nonsuch: mid-season dessert

The intention is for a central record to be kept of who grafted what, along with the locations of the trees, so that the varieties have a better chance of being preserved in the future. Please make sure, if you are one of the grafters, that you label the tree with a permanent label, that you tell other people the names of the apples you have grafted, and that you write down and keep a paper record of the trees you have constructed and the exact location (in your garden) of each. You will not remember which is which!

21 Feb 2022


COSBY GRAFTING COURSE, SAT 19 FEB 22

Cosby grafting course, 2022 Cosby grafting course, 2022
Cosby grafting course, 2022 Cosby grafting course, 2022
Cosby grafting course, 2022 Cosby grafting course, 2022

All-day grafting course completed at Cosby, 19 Feb, presented by Nigel and Alison. Some pictures from the event are shown above; click on the thumbnails for more detail. We began at 9.30 for 10.00; introductory talk on natural grafting, then propagating trees from seed, by cuttings and by grafting, and then a budding simulation followed by a theory and practical on the two main kinds of grafting. We also showed a few of the odd apple varieties which we've collected over the years, some of which are used in breeding new varieties.

The lunch session involved a tasting of twelve late apple varieties, the latest of which (Burford Yellow) which was picked only a fortnight ago. The active apple-picking period is rather longer than most people realise. The apples used were Burford Yellow, Eden Crab, MM106, Hidden Rose, Mere Pippin, Durrant, Xmas Pink, Marriage Maker, Burford Red, High Cross, Suttonelms and the Huonville Crab. The sugar levels of the students were raised a little by pieces of Alison's home-made apple cake.

The afternoon session gave more practice, particularly on coping with very thin scions, and then each student made two trees. We were pleased to see new arrivals from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, some students coming back for a refresher, and a few old friends encountered at apple and wildlife events around the county.

We hope to see pictures of your grafted trees in a few weeks!

21 Feb 2022


'ZOOM' TALK ON SETTING UP AN ORCHARD, 27 JAN



Talk for the Charnwood group, organised by Carolyn Holmes, 7pm; lasted about an hour, followed by numerous questions. I'm used to talking to groups, but this was my first experience (apart from being on a judging panel for a radio drama event) of talking to a group from a room in my house. Nevertheless it worked well; it was presented by Mel Wilson, who handled the technical side and introduced it, and I was able to contribute some ideas from the other end of the county. Topics covered included planning, preparation, tree protection, routine maintenance, dealing with pests, and a host of other essential things to consider when setting up an orchard.

28 Jan 2022


PRUNING AT COTESBACH
Sat. 22 Jan: First half of the trees pruned today at Cotesbach Hall; many thanks to Sophy and Letty and Judith. A very enjoyable day, with Sophy's wonderful home-made soup at lunchtime.

pruning at Cotesbach pruning at Cotesbach

22 Jan 22

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