Our Very Own Orchard

apple tree

Chilly evenings and dewy mornings, my favourite time of year is fast approaching. The mature fruit trees in our garden were planted many years ago in rows, giving the appearance of an orchard. We’ve always wanted our very own orchard and that’s how we refer to our wonderful old trees.

Bramley apples
Bramley apples

Victoria plum tree

Dripping with fruit in shades of green, purple, red and yellow, the garden has never looked so colourful since moving here late January. Greengage and early plums are finishing now, tipsy wasps litter the lawn, feasting on fallen fermented plums alongside occasional Red Admiral butterflies.

fallen apples

Early plums
Early plums
One of the pear trees
Wasps gorging on fruit
Wasps gorging on fruit

The garden is very wide and therefore open in most places, fruit trees are a great way to provide cover to free-ranging chickens from aerial predators. We have a few more fruit trees to plant this autumn; Scrumptious apple will replace a small ornamental cherry that isn’t doing very well, Cox’s Orange Pippin and a Bramley apple. It’s almost time to release them from their temporary containers where they’ve lived happily since moving here.

Apple tree, possibly a Cox?
Apple tree, possibly a Cox?
Another apple, not sure of this one
Another pear tree
Another pear tree
Bramley apple tree
Bramley apple tree
Again, not sure of this variety of apple

I’m jam making again with gorgeous Victoria plums, it’s unbelievable the amount of fruit the Victoria tree has produced.

Victoria Plum
Victoria plums
Our lovely Victoria plum tree

A pretty Comma butterfly seemed to watch me from one of the pear trees, it stayed quite still while I snapped away with the camera.

comma butterfly on a pear tree

underside of a comma butterfly

There are two pear varieties and three apple varieties in the orchard that we need help with identifying, along with an early plum (mid July fruiting). If you recognise a variety from the photos please do leave a comment.

A Weekend of Planting Fruit Trees

 
This weekend we added 2 new trees to our mini orchard. We now have 3 different varieties of apple – Scrumptious, Bramley’s Seedling and Cox Orange Pippin, a Marjorie’s Seedling plum and a Williams’ Bon Chretien pear. Our Scrumptious and Cox produced good-sized fruit last season but the plum skipped fruiting altogether. However, it is now smothered in blossom so fingers crossed for plums this year.
 
All our trees are on a semi vigorous rootstock because we have the space, so I have been learning how to prune fruit trees paying attention to the way in which each of our chosen trees produce their fruit. For example, the Bramley’s Seedling is partial tip bearer, which means that most of the fruit is borne on the ends of the branches. For this reason it is wise not to throw caution to the wind while pruning, otherwise you may end up with no fruit for quite some time.