Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Pruning Course Review

For 2016 course dates please click here: Pruning Apple Tree Courses 2016

“I have an allotment with a number of fruit trees on it including apples.  I have been trying to find some where I can get tuition in pruning the trees correctly so I was pleased to find this site.  I had a really great day with Jim last week.  He expertly guided me through what is required to get my trees in good shape as well as giving me tips and advice on the care of them.  I am very happy to recommend the pruning days.  I also recommend the home cooked food served in the tea rooms!" Robin 

Robin was a participant in our Pruning Apple Trees Course which continues throughout February:

11th February 2015
18th February 2015
25th February 2015

Other dates available, including weekends, by special request, just ask.

This hands-on pruning course is held in our traditional 8 acre orchard with apple trees of various ages, from mature Bramleys between 50 and 100 years old to the youngest tree planted in 2014.

What will I learn?

You'll learn, through theory, demonstrations and practical hands-on experience the necessary skills and expertise to prune apple trees. The techniques you learn will enable you to care for young, newly planted trees, keep mature trees healthy and productive and to "renovate" old trees.

Who is the course for?

The pruning apple trees course is for anyone over 16 who wants to learn about pruning fruit trees. No previous experience is necessary. To get the best out of the course you will need to be physically able to have a go at pruning one of our trees under the guidance of your tutor, this can involve the use of ladders but doesn't have to as we have plenty of smaller trees that can be worked on from the ground.

The majority of the course will take place outside in the orchard so you'll need to be prepared for the weather by wearing outdoor clothes and bringing wellingtons and waterproofs in case of rain.

Course content

Meet at The Orchard Tea Room at 10am for a 10.30 start
Introductions over tea or coffee
A look at tools and equipment
Theory of pruning explained during practical demonstrations in the orchard
Lunch in our tea room: Delicious homemade soup & sandwich freshly prepared from local produce served with a pot of tea.
"have a go" at pruning under supervision
3.30pm tea and cake and the chance to ask as many questions as you like.


To prune trees you'll need a pair of good quality secateurs and a pruning saw, a pair of loppers are also useful. Please bring what you have along on the day.


The cost of the apple pruning course, including morning coffee, homemade lunch, tea and cake, is £60 per person.

Book a course

Booking is easy, simply email us your name, address, telephone number and email address along with your preferred date and we'll send you a confirmation email along with an invoice, we do ask for payment in advance.

or telephone Jim on 07527 046184 

Our Pruning Apple Trees Course makes a great gift

If you'd like to give our Pruning Apple Trees Course as a present please let us know in your email, upon receipt of payment we will send you a gift certificate for giving.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Murmuration of Starlings

At this time of year we get large flocks of birds descending upon the orchard to feast on fallen apples, they frequently provide a wonderful aerial display for us. Unfortunately none of us here at the tea room or farm shop have managed to capture anything as awe inspiring as this video:

Murmuration from Islands & Rivers on Vimeo.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Firewood Rhyme

We think this traditional firewood rhyme is quite appropriate for this time of year:

Beechwood fires burn bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year
Store your beech for Christmastide
With new holly laid beside
Chestnut's only good they say
If for years 'tis stayed away
Birch and firwood burn too fast
Blaze too bright and do not last
Flames from larch will shoot up high
Dangerously the sparks will fly
But ashwood green and ashwood brown
Are fit for a Queen with a golden crown.
Oaken logs, if dry and old
Keep away the winter's cold
Poplar gives a bitter smoke
Fills your eyes and makes you choke
Elmwood burns like churchyard mould
Even the very flames burn cold
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread
So it is in Ireland said
Applewood will scent the room
Pearwood smells like a flower in bloom
But ashwood wet and ashwood dry
A king may warm his slippers by!

Of course we do sell logs here at The Orchard either by the sack or by the bin. Find us at The Orchard Tea Room & Farm Shop, Redmoor Lane, Wisbech PE140RN. Open 10-4 daily.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

A Frosty Day in The Orchard + 5 things about Hoar Frost

Today was, for sure, the coldest day this year, well it is only the 4th January!

 Happy New Year to all of you.

The hoar frost lasted all day turning our orchard into a real winter wonderland. A few of our customers braved the cold and enjoyed a quick walk around the orchard but most were happy to sit by the log burner and view the frosty trees from the warmth of our cosy tea room.

So here are 5 things about hoar frost:

1. Hoar frost id also called radiation frost or hoarfrost or pruina.
2. Hoar frost forms on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air.
3. Hoar frost is white ice crystals deposited on the ground or on objects such as the plum trees pictured above.
4. The word hoar comes from the old English adjective for showing signs of age.
5. Hoar frost also occurs in man made environments eg. freezers and cold stores.