Orchard Offerings: New Year Bargains

Every couple of weeks until March we will release a new Orchard Offering. Each offer will be strictly limited, and available on a first-come-first-served basis. Be quick!


Offer 3 (only 3 available!)

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5 x JAPANESE BARBERRY (Berberis thunbergii) for £17.50
(normally £6 each, so a total saving of £12.50!)

With red edible fruits, this jaggy Barberry makes a great and attractive informal hedge, and the roots yield a yellow dye. Root bark can be used medicinally as an antibacterial. It grows in any soil except waterlogged and a sunny position will encourage fruiting and lovely colour in Autumn.

They come in 3 litre pots, and can be collected from the nursery or a market we’re attending.

Buy securely via Paypal:

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And then drop us a message (email@plantsandapples.com) to let us know when you’d like to collect!


Offer 2 (only 1 left!)

Saskatoon Berries

4 x Saskatoon ‘Smoky’ for £28 (normally £10 each)

To be collected from the nursery or a market we’re attending

Saskatoons are a large and tough Canadian deciduous shrub that suckers and produces delicious black fruits in June. Saskatoons berries look much like blueberries – though they are more closely related to the apple family – and they don’t need acid soil like blueberries. Saskatoon ‘Smoky’ are one of the most productive and widely used varieties and have large sweet berries with good yields. Ideal for your allotment, fruit cage, orchard or forest garden!

Buy securely via Paypal:

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And then drop us a message (email@plantsandapples.com) to let us know when you’d like to collect!


Offer 1 (sold out)

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10 x Belle de Boskoop Apple Trees on M26 rootstocks for £120
To be collected from the nursery

About Belle de Boskoop

Eater & cooker. Discovered in the nursery district of Boskoop near Gouda, Netherlands, in 1856. Widely grown in Holland, Germany and Belgium. Award of merit, RHS, in 1897. You can buy it in the markets of France and Belgium. My young cordon has given me a bucketful of delicious, large, firm, and juicy fruit every year so far. It’s a lovely apple, maybe it should be more widely grown?

About M26

M26 will produce a tree around 10 feet tall and in my garden with lots of fruit. Good for cordons or small espaliers. Will start to produce quantities of fruit in a couple of years.

Find out more about rootstocks here.


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Become a Fruit Tree Expert in 2019

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This new year, we are running ‘Fruit Tree Expert 2019‘ at Blackhaugh Community Farm – a series of workshops for the new and improving fruit tree grower.

Workshops are led by Andrew Lear, who puts over 30 years of horticultural knowledge into practice by teaching and advising orchard groups and owners throughout Scotland, and propagating our heritage varieties of fruit.

Each workshop is £20 per person. Numbers will be limited for practical reasons. Please reserve your place below via Paypal, or enquire at email@plantsandapples.com.

Notes for participants: There will be lots of opportunities to ask questions during the workshop. We recommend bringing water and a packed lunch, or some snacks to keep you going. Facilities for making hot drinks will be available at the farm.


Workshop 1: Winter Pruning (SOLD OUT)

Date: Sunday 27 January, 10:00 – 15:00
Location: Blackhaugh Community Farm, Spittalfield, Perth PH1 4JZ
Description: In this workshop, we will look at the theory of winter pruning followed by a trip to a local orchard for hands-on practical experience. Bring your own secateurs and loppers if you have them.

Sorry, this workshop has now sold out. Why not join our mailing list to hear about our future courses?


Workshop 2: Grafting Fruit Trees (SOLD OUT)

Date: Sunday 24 February, 10:00 – 15:00
Location: Blackhaugh Community Farm, Spittalfield, Perth PH1 4JZ
Description: In this practical and theoretical workshop, you will be able to graft and take away your own tree at the end of the session. This workshop involves the use of very sharp knives so an element of competence with them will be a pre-requisite!

Sorry, this workshop has now sold out. Why not join our mailing list to hear about our future courses?


Workshop 3: Fruit for the Permaculture Garden

Date: Sunday 23 June, 10:00 – 15:00
Location: Blackhaugh Community Farm, Spittalfield, Perth PH1 4JZ
Description: We will learn about the wide range of fruit trees and shrubs that make up the structure of a Permaculture Garden in Scotland. We will demonstrate how to cultivate a diverse and fruitful forest garden, finishing with an exercise to design a garden at the farm with your newfound knowledge.

Reserve your place, via Paypal:

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Workshop 4: Summer Pruning and Training of Fruit trees

Date: Sunday 21 July, 10:00 – 15:00
Location: Blackhaugh Community Farm, Spittalfield, Perth PH1 4JZ
Description: We will discuss the theory of summer pruning and training in this workshop, and draw up plans for a garden of trained fruit at the farm in the afternoon. Various methods of training, tying and protecting will be demonstrated.

Reserve your place, via Paypal:

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Workshop 5: Budding of Fruit Trees

Date: Sunday 25 August, 10:00 – 15:00
Location: Blackhaugh Community Farm, Spittalfield, Perth PH1 4JZ
Description: In this workshop, we will cover the theory and practice of propagating fruit trees professionally. We will demonstrate good budding technique and you will have the opportunity to have a go yourself under field conditions at the farm.

Reserve your place, via Paypal:

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Is there a workshop missing? Let us know if there’s something else you’d like to learn from us by emailing: email@plantsandapples.com

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Heritage Pears

I have for several years now been propagating some of Scotland’s old pear varieties. Between Perth and Dundee there are still a few very old orchards with big productive old trees, perhaps 200 years old, many hollowed out, and each year more of them blow over. The race to save these varieties has never been more important. One way of doing this is to propagate by grafting. This involves taking a healthy twig off the tree and grafting it onto a specially grown pear rootstock.
I have been working with The Heritage Pear Project nationwide, a group of volunteers attempting to improve their pear dentification skills, and going out into orchards locating and propagating those unknown or rare varieties. Contrary to popular belief, these pear trees produce tonnes of fruit, unlike many of the dwarf modern varieties planted in our back gardens today.
In the Carse of Gowrie, I have been particularly interested to propagate those trees identified as unknown in a DNA survey carried out by the University of Reading for Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust. This survey pulled out some unusual varieties such as Windsor, Chaumontel, and Laxton’s Superb ( yes I thought this was an Apple only!). More predictable was the regular occurence of Hessle, Craig’s Favourite ( a Perth variety ), and Green Pear of Yair from the Borders. The well known Conference was found at Ballendean, together with Buerre D’Amanlis, plus Catillac, a large triploid cooking pear and Swan’s Egg at Megginch Catsle.
All very interesting, but equally so, around a quarter of those tested proved to have no matching trees at the National Collection in Kent. Which means they they could be seedlings bred by local fruit growers such as Patrick Mathew over hundred years ago, or perhaps simply a named variety from Belgium or France not represented in the Kent collection.
So, over the last few years I have been propagating a few of these un-named trees before they collapse and are lost for ever. Occassionally we have some spare to sell, they may not be named, but simply have a number! If you have a big garden and space for a big pear tree do please get in touch and help us save these varieties!

Heritage Pears

Heritage Pears

Anyone for Tea?

We have a small number of hardy Camelia sinensis for sale in 5 litre pots. They are growing away nicely and already yielding afew leaves for our daily brew! Tea is now being produced in Scotland, proving that they are perfectly hardy! They are calcifuge, so generally prefering a slightly acid soil, some shade or northern facing slopes may suffice, and tolerate a fair amount of rainfall, though a variety of loamy soils and areas of Scotland are proving to be acceptable. See the following information sheet for more details:Appletreeman’s Guide to Growing Tea in Scotland

Saskatoons

We have a selection of specially imported Canadian Saskatoons for sale in 3 or 5 litre pots.
These trees produce a fabulously sweet blue berry in July, and are similar to Blueberries. They differ in that they do not need acid soil and prefer good sunlight and any good loamy soil.
The varieties we have for sale are Smoky, Thiessen, Northline and JB 30. These are all commercially selected for their superior sized and quality fruits from tlocal wild trees in central Canada.
They are very hardy, and reach between 2.5 to 3.5 metres. Pruning involves cutting out a few of the tallest trees in a few years time. They are likely to be productive for 40 years or more. Our specialist guide gives more information.

Appletreeman’s Guide to Growing Saskatoons

Farm Shops of Scotland

Intensive Apple Orchard at Craigie Farm

Intensive Apple Orchard at Craigie Farm

I love the fact that you can enjoy a cup of good coffee, buy a delicious local artisan oatcake or black pudding, and pick a few fruits for your pudding in one short trip. These are things you cannot do in style in the crowds and hassle of a supermarket.

My most recent trip was to Craigie Farm Shop near Kirkliston, a pyo farm, much of which was open to the public.On a Sunday afternoon it was very busy, but there are lots of seating in and outside the cafe, and I like the idea of the canine cafe! However poor Jed was banned from the fruit growing areas, the impressive polytunnels with table tops groaning with strawberries and pots of raspberries.

After viewing the grunting pigs, and the friendly Shelties, we followed the nature trail along the lines of open grown heavily laden gooseberries, and surprise surprise came upon a fabulous modern orchard. (There’s always an ulterior motive with Appletreeman! )

I have seen this square block of trees developing over the last year from the dual carriageway into Edinburgh, and was determined to check it out. It is as I thought, a very exciting new development in top fruit growing in Scotland. There are about 15 lines of very closely spaced trees, at one meter, on very dwarfing stocks of M9. It all looks very well managed, and very productive with sunset, worcesters, katy etc. all yielding fruit in this rather mixed year.

Very good to see that lines of Italian Alder have been planted as shelter belts also, a necessity for this easterly plot way down the bank, whereas some cherries further up near the cafe seem to be more exposed. Back at the shop we picked up a few punnets of fabulous rasps and gooseberries and set off home very pleased!

The farm is not organic, but allows the public to see into the tunnels so common in Perthshire, with real commercial horticulture in action, weeds and all! We will certainly be back, hopefully at a less busy time to speak to the ‘patron’ and of course for the harvest of apples!