Planting the Orchard
Exciting times as 57 ‘baby’ trees (or to give them their proper names, maidens and whips) arrived which will make up our new orchard.
Deciding which trees to order had been an interesting process and a sharp learning curve, starting with how many cider and other apple trees to have, local heritage varieties we wanted to include making sure all pollination groups were taken into account, and it has to be said, the inclusion of a few picked solely for their funny names, such as Hangy Down, Pigs Nose, and of course, Slack ma Girdle.
As the back doors of the delivery van opened, I was prepared for a huge load to be wheeled out. Instead the driver passed me down four odd shaped parcels, tightly wrapped in black plastic. As I undid each one the reality of the size of our new trees hit home – they looked little more than a bunch of twigs! It was hard to imagine them growing into thick trunks with branches laden with apples – rather like the cider adverts on television where hoards of happy smiley lovelies are playfully picking the apples and drinking the spoils of their labours. It will be a while before we are doing that!
With help from some lovely friends though, all trees were planted before the end of the bare root planting season at the end of March. We surrounded the newly planted trees with woodchip mulch to keep the grass and weeds at bay, and plastic surrounds to hopefully keep the pesky rabbits at bay.
As we planted the final tree I felt quite emotional, knowing this was the start of something that should last well beyond my lifetime and will hopefully provide some income as well as some lovely cider. Funny how cider can make me emotional!