On my way this morning to Oxfordshire, just off the quiet M40 motorway at J7 and into the great quiet expanse of this beautiful county. Windmills, golden stone, thatched rooves. Pretty as a Picture. And a note for a stop-over next time I venture this way, or perhaps over to Waterperry Gardens which are not far…
Not today, Le Manoir, but not that far from home really and they do gardening courses too I’m sure… But I passed by, crossing the Thames at Clifton Hampden over a delightful (once tolled) bridge designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_Hampden_Bridge).
I was here for a day learning more about winter pruning of fruit trees, apples and pears in particular, in the company of 20 other enthusiastic folk and the undoubted Expert, Andrew Howard of The Heritage Fruit Tree Co., together with the very helpful team at the Earth Trust; a complete what, how, where and when –
- A Brief History of Pruning
- Why we Prune
- How to differentiate Fruit and Growth Buds
- Formative Pruning
- Rejuvenating & Renovating Older Trees
- Summer vs Winter Pruning
- Rootstocks demystified
- Outdoor Practical – Health & Safety, Tools, Correct Cutting Techniques
- An Orchard – or a single tree – the benefits for Wildlife
and 10. A most important lesson learned – How a glass of wine/beer or cup of tea will help your pruning technique….
Here we all are in the small orchard (no drinks, though some mulled wine would not have gone amiss in the chill wind!)
A thoroughly enjoyable day, with much learned and an opportunity to put some of it into practise – perhaps rashly on the part of the organisers – I might have feared for their fruit crop this year had we not been so well tutored!
I’ll be condensing some of the points we tackled today in a blog soon – there are just a couple of months to tackle this important work before the sap begins to rise and the time for winter pruning is past. Of course, there is summer pruning to consider – a different beast altogether, but there is definitely time for that.
Andy Howard in action at Westonburt
Horticulturalist Chris Beardshaw uncovers the British contribution to the history of this most iconic fruit – an hour!