• The Blooming Old Gardener

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree

We were recently invited by Norton Priory to help with the planting of a new apple orchard that they are establishing, within their wildflower meadow (not far from their beautiful walled garden). There will eventually be sixty new trees, but that day we just tackled five! Our techniques shall hopefully improve if we get invited back.

Katie Lowe from Heathfield Orchards made digging a hole for a tree look so easy! We followed her example (well we tried!) and hopefully nobody measures our slightly wonky first line of trees. We are sure Katie wanted to go back and move things around, but she was very kind about it. Paul Quigley from Norton Priory had perfected his own digging technique, not sure that was Katie approved either, but it worked!

Whilst Katie dug her hole in mere moments, we took a little bit more time and usually it still wasn't quite deep enough. Even small trees need a rather large hole, as much for the stake, as for the tree.


After seeing Katie stake the first tree, we then promptly forgot to pay attention to what side the tree was to be staked on, which didn't help our slightly skew-whiff line! Oops.

Heather pictured holding the stake in place, wasn't quite sure what was happening here (picture for slightly dramatic effect). We all had a wonderful morning, the weather was kind to us, a Robin watched over us and there were signs of new growth peeking out from the ground (snowdrops) and trees forming catkins.


Joining us where friends from Hazlehurst Studios, Runcorn WI, and Soroptimist Runcorn, Frodsham and District. with Paul Quigley from Norton Priory and Katie Lowe from Heathfield Orchards and Rachael Prime from Halton Borough Council's Community Development Team.


More pictures from the day:

A recently uprooted tree had led to a recent archaeological find, so we couldn't help but have a rummage ourselves! Unfortunately the most exciting find for us was a bit of old terracotta pot ( a modern one).

We currently have two apple trees in our Old Town Bloom Community Garden, both cheshire varieties. One was planted by Runcorn Women's Institute and is called 'Millicent Barnes' and the other was planted by Runcorn Rotary Club and is called a 'Minshull Crab'. Our trees are currently planted in containers (as we can't dig down in our garden), so it is time to think about relocating them. We are hoping they can find a new home within the new orchard that Norton Priory are creating - more about that soon.


Curious about fruit trees and how to look after them? Norton Priory are running a fruit tree grafting workshop - link here Fruit Tree Grafting Course


What else to look out for? Every year in October, Norton Priory celebrate their Apple and Quince collection, by hosting a 'Quince and Apple' day. It is well worth a visit! Keep an eye out for that in October.


The Not as Old Blooming Old Gardener's Assistant


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