Feast your eyes on our orchards
We are fortunate to have two active orchards in the South East – at Hucking in Kent and Langley Vale in Surrey respectively. As it is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, we thought we would update on how things have been for them over the season. As you will read, caring for fruit trees is not without triumphs and its challenges…
The Langley Vale team were extremely disappointed that, after all their hard work, all of the apples and pears they were looking forward to harvesting were taken before they ripened by thieves – for the second year running. Volunteer Jennifer Harkins said on behalf of the group: ‘We had a good crop of Damson “Shropshire Prune” and Plum “Opal”, with a couple of other varieties still ripening, and we have been trying to get enough fruit to run public events, but, even without C19 restrictions, this would not have been possible this year. At least we have done some tastings on the things we were able to harvest, and will be adding those notes to our database. ‘
Before this, Jennifer and fellow volunteer Sue Wiltshire completed a (socially distanced!) photographic survey over the summer, creating detailed notes on the general development and health of each tree as well as damage by voles, birds, aphids, caterpillars, mildew and canker. This could provide useful information to potentially share with other volunteers around the subject of orchard management. What a busy time has been had!
Meanwhile, at Hucking, Raymond and Daniela Kenward and their small but merry band (working singly or in pairs) were especially delighted to have real fruit trees after their hard work establishing their orchard. A lack of rain from March until recently has made it a difficult year for all trees so our fruit-growing volunteers are highly commended for their dedication, passion and hard work as always.
It is hoped that information and training resources are to be developed in the coming months on the subject of orchard management so if this is an interest of yours… watch this space!
Thank you to Jennifer Harkins and Raymond Kenward for their input and, of course, all the volunteers involved in our woodlands.
Words: Anna Claxton, Volunteer Development Officer, SE
Pictures: Jennifer Harkins and Raymond Kenward, Volunteer Woodland Working Group Members