We have begun "Project Orchard" - Orchard! Ha! its five little sticks in the corner of the garden at the moment, but will now have a page of its own where I will explain our choices of trees and log their progress in the coming months and years.
I have always loved orchards - especially old ones full of magical twisted, gnarled ancient apple trees, heavy with moss and lichen's. We are surrounded by fruit trees here, so it's reasonable to assume that we would have had fruit here at some time in the past, especially as there are at least two buildings claiming to be "olde cider mills" within a few hundred metres of our house.
I am keen to use old varieties of plants whenever possible, so began to try to track down some apple trees native to Monmouthshire.
I eventually chose some from Ian Sturrock and Son, a firm that specialises in old Welsh fruit tree varieties http://www.iansturrockandsons.co.uk/
But first its worth thinking about the lovely names of some varieties, particularly old cider apples; how about Fillbarrel, Fox Whelp, Hangy Down, Hoary Morning and the Peasgood Nonsuch (actually an eater). But best of all is the glorious "Slack ma Girdle", an old variety of cider apple. Well just imagine... I may have to get one of those....
This is what I want our orchard to look like:
I know, but I can dream......