Buying our Trees
We have chosen a range of trees to start off our orchard. Two apples, two pears, and a damson. More may be added at a later date as we clear the land at the end of the garden, but we have decided that this is enough investment in trees for now.
Our house is just over 500 feet above sea level, and people who know a lot more than us often suggest that this is just about the maximum acceptable height for fruit trees, but we are surrounded by old orchards here, and in particular have a very old apple tree behind our house that is heavy with beautiful big cooking apples every year. And I really want to grow fruit, so in the end we decided to go for it.
The advice on Ashridge Trees excellent website sealed it:
So which trees we wondered and where to get them? Stock in the garden centres is not too special and I was really keen to get old varieties of trees that could have possibly have grown in this valley in the past, so specialist nurseries via the internet seemed the way to go.
Apples and Damson:
We found our apple and damson tress via Ian Sturrock and Sons www.iansturrockandsons.co.uk who are specilaists in Welsh Fruit trees.
The web site is full of useful information, and the trees come with a great label that says it all really!
We turned our attention then to buying a second Pear tree. Second because I had rather excitingly already won one pear (a Conference, very standard) in a competition, and needed a pollination partner for it. Ashridge Tree Nursery (web address above), based in Somerset was the source of this tree.
What we've got:
Monmouth Beauty Apple - Originated in 1750, and popular in markets around Monmouth in the 19th Century. Claims to be a Crimson Flushed Eating Apple with rich scent and Texture.
Seek no Further Apple - in Welsh Gwell na Mil (better than a million). A very old variety dating back at least to the 1700's Another old Monmouth variety, this time a light russet eater with creamy flesh and an aromatic nutty flavour.
Abergwyngregyn Damson - Not from our local area but again purportedly a very old and resilient Welsh fruit variety.
Conference Pear - What is says on the tin - not a local variety of course, but free!
Winter Nellis Pear - An old European variety, bred by Jean Charles Nelis and imported from Belgium in 1818. I admit its not a local variety, but it is old, and anyway I was totally sold on it as soon as I saw this lovely picture of this late fruiting variety:
Twenty years and we should have some results hopefully!