It’s all about the Apples (& Pears)
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
When we decided to turn our hobby cider making in to a small business I said that we needed our own orchard. Lack of land was a bit of an issue so while looking for something I started grafting some trees in readiness for there being somewhere to plant them. after a lot of reading I focused my attention on 4 bittersweet varieties, Somerset Redstreak, Herefordshire Redstreak, Harry Masters Jersy & Tremletts Bitter. Scion wood was obtained from a number of places including Frank Mathews, Brogdale, Stephen Hayes and a number of Facebook Scion wood exchange/Orchard groups. For those of you unfamiliar with apple tree propagation you take a cutting from a tree you want to copy and splice it on to a rootstock (roots and a bit of trunk). With a bit of luck and a fair wind they join together and you have a new tree of the desired variety. after a couple of years of grafting and looking for a place to plant them the garden was getting a bit full of small trees in pots. A desperate message on a local smallholding Facebook group managed to get a single reply and the orchard was born.
Since getting the space I have added an area for Wiltshire apple varieties of which I believe I have manged to source all but 1, but I have a lead on that one as well.
Wiltshire varieties we currently have:
Bedwyn, Beauty, Burn’s, Seedling, Celt, Chorister Boy, Corsley Pippin, Dredges Fame, Mary Barnett, Roundway Magnum Bonum, Julia’s Late Golden, Wiltshire Monster, Mere Pippin, Donhead House, Alvediston, Coyle’s Triple Trunk, Periwinkle Pippin, Wiltshire Dognose
I have also planted a number of Perry pears including, Blakeney Red, Yellow Huffcap, Hendre Huffcap as well as a number of other varieties. Perry pears take a while to start cropping so it will still be a few years before I am making Perry from my own trees.
We have also done some work on finding new local varieties of apple and pear. These can come about when a discarded apple core falls in to just the right position for one of the pips to germinate and grow, mostly the results re not very good but now and again you find something worth propagating. This little project has so far resulted in finding some Perry Pears that now make our Pewsey Perry, a new West Lavington eating apple that is very tasty and juicy, as well few more that we are currently growing on to see what the fruit turns out like. The new West Lavington apple was DNA tested and found to be “unique”, meaning that it could not be matched with databases of DNA results from the UK, Ireland or Europe, This was also the case of a pear from 5 Lanes Farm in Potterne, this pear was supposedly grown to provide pears to go in to Babycham , so perhaps it was a known variety that has since dropped out of favour and “lost” to the modern orchard. The new West Lavington apple has been registered as a new variety and been named “Periwinkle Pippin” as the “mother tree” grows by Periwinkle pond.