17 February 2024

New trees for an old orchard

We have been very lucky to be able to plant new trees in one of the oldest orchards in the village. This orchard has big trees more than 100 years old which still bear fruit each autumn. Sadly, two of the huge Blenheim Orange trees have suffered this winter and are leaning over probably due to the ground being so wet and some strong winds this winter. But they will be fine as long as they still have strong roots in the ground.

Six new trees were planted: 3 plum, 2 apple and one pear. With luck they will thrive and grow to be 100 years old as well.

The new trees are: Victoria plum, Oullins Golden Gage, Kirks Blue plum; Kid's Orange Red, Herefordshire Russet; and Concord pear.

100 year old Blenheim Orange trees

A leaning Blenheim Orange 

Just 5 more holes to dig

Each tree has been lined up to each row

Vital guard dog!

15 February 2024

New trees in a new orchard

Cholsey orchard group contacted us last year to ask for advice about what to do next to improve their orchard. A few years ago they were able to use some land in the heart of the village and had already planted some apple trees. Now was the opportunity to plant some more and Paul Chilton was the obvious "go to person" for help.

With Paul's expertise in suggesting several different varieties and sourcing the best possible trees, the group were able to choose 4 new trees - Scrumptious, Bramley, Red Devil and Rosemary Russet.

8 February 2024

Meet Amada and Arthur Turner. Amanda has planted one of the trees of the Orchard Group winter project. Arthur Turner is a large mid-season cooking apple first cultivated in 1912. Picking time is late September to early October. Enjoy!

30 December 2023

Continuing the heritage of the village

The Orchard Group project this winter to provide apple and pear trees for villagers to plant in their gardens was a great success. We will now have fruit trees in new parts of the village - Greenmere, High Road, Kings Orchard, Little Martins, West End, Bakers Lane, Church Lane and overlooking St James's churchyard.

Paul Chilton has chosen old varieties like Rosemary Russet (1831) as well as new ones like Elstar (2011). Modern varieties will be the heritage varieties of the future and these trees could live for 50 years or more. Some orchards in the village have trees that are over 100 years old.

When we did a survey in 2009 we counted over 400 trees in people's gardens and old orchards. You could say the village is one big orchard and we live among the trees.

These are the varieties we are adding to the village. 

Elstar 1972
Rosemary Russet 1831
Rosette 2011
Scrumptious 1980
Arthur Turner 1915
Surprize 2017
James Grieve 1893
Sunset 1918
Red Windsor 1985
Herefordshire Russet 2000
Fiesta 1972

Invincible (pear) 1864

The only request is that the new grower provides 4 apples from the tree for Paul Chilton's display at Apple Day!

The new trees ready to plant in the village

Rosette apple variety - Greenmere
New apple tree in Greenmere - variety Rosette

22 October 2023

Never to be found in a supermarket

These are the 14 different varieties of apple which people could taste at Apple Day. They are all grown in gardens and abandoned orchards in the village.

15 October 2023

Apple Day 2023

What a great day. Sunshine, over 300 visitors, 14 heritage varieties to taste, cake stall which everything made with apples, chocolate fountain, longest peel competition, apple bobbing, traditional cider tasting and Paul Chilton's display of 119 varieties of apples and pears grown in the village.

Paul Chilton (left) and John Sheard (right)

Photo credit - Gemma Warr

23 September 2023

Picking in an old orchard in the village

We are lucky to be able to pick apples in an orchard now in a back garden which dates back to the early 1900s and possibly beyond. The orchard has the traditional collection of trees producing a full range of varieties from the early season in late August to late varieties like russets in late October.