Our orchards are comparatively young but contain lots of old varieties. There are two orchards either side of the vegetable garden. The hedge on one side of the vegetable garden consists of apple trees being trained into a diamond formation. This is not a quick process as the trees have to be trained as they grow and then the major branches fuse together where they cross to maintain the formation when the training canes are removed.
" I particularly like, and am proud of, the diamond trained espalier apple trees at the edge of the vegetable garden"
What do we grow?
While you meander through the orchard see if you can identify the pear, quince, plum, gage, medlar, damson, cherry, nut and of course apples trees. There are 78 apple trees, 17 plum trees and a smaller number of the other types.
Our apple crop this year isn't as good as it has been in previous years however the cherries were bountiful and our gardeners had a battle with the birds to see who got there first. The plums are also plentiful although wasps also find them attractive. There is a good nut crop and with them the squirrels are the challengers to see who gets there first.
All trees are winter pruned and some are summer pruned as well. This winter the crowns will be raised on the quince trees. This means removing some lower branches so that the trunk is longer.
The strips of grass under the trees are having a range of early summer flowering plants grown under them to attract pollen loving insects to enhance the pollination of the fruit. In late summer this is then mown so that these plants are not competing with the trees for food and water. In keeping with the traditions of Coughton Court fourteen roses are amongst these plants.
The Worcester Permain was introduced in the 1870's. It is a sweet eating apple that can be eaten as soon as it is picked. It is not a keeping apple. This variety that has done well this year. A late frost damaged the blossom of many of our apple trees and has reduced our crop.