The Orchard at The Firs

The orchard at The Firs is a relatively small and young one. The trees are no more than about 25 years old, but we seem to have a wide range of varieties including cookers, eaters and cider apples, as well as a few Worcester Black Pears.

Apple Pressing day

Our orchard produces a wonderful selection of apples in late summer early autumn; these include sweet dessert, cooking and cider apples. We also have a few Worcester Black Pear trees which are becoming a popular choice for Gin producers. Our Apple juicing day will be held on Sunday 6 October  so you’ll be able to come along a taste our wares.

Pressing Apples at The Firs
Dawne pressing apples
Pressing Apples at The Firs

More than apples in the orchard

Our orchard grass was left to flower and sow seed this year, the range of wild flowers was wonderful and in turn the variety of birds, bees and butterflies that visited every day to feast on the flower nectar was fantastic.

Wildflowers thriving in the orchard
Wildflowers thriving in the orchard
Wildflowers thriving in the orchard

We also had Orchids appear and these will hopefully naturalise and come back next year.

Orchids growing in our Orchard
Orchid growing in the Orchard
Orchids growing in our Orchard

If you look closely at the Trees at the Firs you will see many have different types of bark covering their trunks. Some are deeply textured others very smooth, some have lichen growing on them and other are hosts to Mistletoe and Ivy.

Ivy growing up the tree
Ivy growing up the tree
Ivy growing up the tree

And if you look closely at these trunks you may see Ants marching in a line from the ground up into the branches above or ladybugs basking in the sunshine. The trees at this time of the season will start to sway in the Autumn winds, fruits and leaves will fall and the wasps and Blackbirds will start to gorge on the fallen fruits, readying themselves for the colder days ahead.

Coloured Lichen growing on the trees at The Firs
Lichen on bark
Coloured Lichen growing on the trees at The Firs

Come and take a look at the trees and if you want to, you can give them a hug!

The Orchard in 2018

We are on an exciting mission at The Firs, Elgar’s Birthplace, to discover the varieties of Apples and Pears that are growing successfully in our orchard.

To help us with this we are working with Karen Humphries of TCTOP (Three counties traditional orchard project) Karen’s team are orchard champions, they provide short courses along with Garden organic to train people on how to identify and manage orchards, and Wade Muggleton the Senior Greenspace officer in Worcestershire, Wade has written a book called ‘Worcestershire apples’ and so is the Apple Guru. 

Tempting red juicy apples
tight cluster of red apples
Tempting red juicy apples

We’re hoping that with their expertise and guidance our outdoor team here at The Firs and the orchard champions at Croome Park will be able to correctly identify each tree, this will enable us to attached accurate name labels to each one, and all visitors can then share in our discovery path. We may have rare varieties!!

Apples with a view
view of the countryside from the orchard
Apples with a view

To start this process we’re plotting the trees on a map, taking photographs of fruit whole and sliced to see pip shape and form, bark and overall appearance along with samples. This has been a challenge this year as the hot weather has brought the season and harvest times forward, but we aim to have some answers by the end of the season.

Dawne Middleton identifying apples
Dawne Middleton identifying apples
Dawne Middleton identifying apples