Thursday, 4 October 2018

Working Party 3 October 2018

Today we had an excellent working party in the Orchard leaving it tidy and ready for the winter. Twelve keen orchardeers trimmed the hedges, weeded round the trees and pulled out a year's growth of bramble. There was a lot to do but the work was completed quickly with such a keen and speedy workforce.  The grass has taken a terrible bashing with the drought but it does seem to be improving now.
The crop has been somewhat disappointing this year but there still some good Herefordshire Russets which are still ripening on the trees and the last apples to be picked are the Newton Wonders.....these will improve in flavour well into November and should store until February.
Do watch out for the notice about the Wassail.....20 January 2019. We need to ensure a good crop for next year by frightening off the devils.

Friday, 28 September 2018


Over the weekend and again on Wednesday 26
September we spent time in the Community Orchard harvesting some of the apples and tasting them.  The sun shone on both occasions and the Orchard itself is looking very good now that the grass has started to grow again.
A lot of the apples are small this year (due to the drought and extreme heat) and sadly a higher percentage than usual have had disease (scab and brown rot) and many have had bird damage which means that many fruits will not store well.
However many are good. The Bramley Seedling have cropped well for the first time this year. The Newton Wonder , another culinary apple, also is cropping well....these will be picked later as they should be ripe mid October and hopefully will store
Of the eaters, Sunset and Herefordshire Russet proved to be very popular as did Fiesta and Ellison's Orange. Other apples were brought too for particular Jupiter (parents Cox's Orange Pippin and Starking) and Bel de Boscoop (Dutch D/P) were delicious.
We will continue to pick as the fruits ripen....some apples will go to St Peter's Church for the Harvest Festival, and a group of children from Limpsfield Primary School will come to pick and taste too. Some apples store well, some are frozen or used in cakes and puddings of course but this year we are trying dried apple and pear.....a dessicator makes this a very easy process and they should last well into the New Year
...some of the Committee

visitors from Hurst Green Garden Club and LODHS

Herefordshire Russet

Saturday, 15 September 2018


We badly need a good go at some of the hedges in the Orchard....and weeding round the tree sites to get everything straight for the winter. There is quite a lot to do....weeding on the area which is under the picnic table too!
After such a dry year grass growth has started up again .....but there are many bare patches. Perhaps we'll get some wild flowers fillings the gaps.....
Anyway.....usual plan.....EARLY start at 9.30am on Wednesday 3 October till 11am then coffee/apple cake (if you are lucky!) and if there's more to do we will continue after that. Please bring your own tools.....
EXTRA JOBS.....please have a look at this list and see if you can help.....
  • Rebuilding compost heap which is sadly collapsing....we might need some more pallets....the ones in use are rotting badly. The compost can be put all round the hedges
  • Rebuilding wood pile which is designed to be a home for stag beetle larvae which take up to 5 years to develop and hatch
  • Moving logs along the path into the area which is a fairy ring (logs) for children......there are some already to be moved! AND we now have a wheel barrow.
  • Checking the tree guard supports.....some need replacing for sure
After the work party we'll need a bonfire too.....on another date probably
Looking forward to seeing LOTS of you there!
Helen and the Orchard TEAM

Friday, 14 September 2018


Come and join us for 
There will be coffee/tea and apple cake so do come along. 
A chance to see how we are doing and taste several different varieties of apples
This year has been very unusual for its growing conditions.....very cold spell followed by good blossom and set.....then the 8 week+ dry and extremely hot period which made me think every tree was fighting to stay alive.....
HOWEVER.....all is settling down...
Katy is ready now (end August) go up and sample them
Damson.....ready to pick (this is the tree behind the Bug House at the back of the Orchard)
Mirabelle all picked .....enough for 4 lbs of jam....some of which will be available at our Tasting afternoon.
Other trees.....Pears....only Buerre Hardy this year ...but there should be plenty in due course
Sunset....pretty small this year
Herefordshire Russet....plenty but again small
Bramley, Arthur Turner  and Bountiful....all cookers....some good size fruit. Newton Wonder (also a cooker) cropping for the first time....small fruits but with great flavour....they store well and can be eaten as dessert fruit into the New Year. We'll be picking these much later.....
Fiesta, Meridian, Lord Lambourne, Ellison's Orange.....moderate crops but enough for tasting.....


September 2018 / September 2019


1.            Entry is FREE and prizes will be presented.

2.            The picture must have been taken between the dates above.

3.            The winning picture will be the one which best illustrates the title of the    competition as above.

4.            The competition is for prints only.

5.            The maximum size of the print is A4 (29.7cm x 20.1cm).

6.            Each entrant may enter up to three pictures. Each one will be judged individually.

7.            There will be three age categories: a) 10 years and younger, b) 11 years to 17 years, c) 18 and over.

8.            Prints will be accepted up to October 1st 2019.

9.            Please put your name, address and telephone number on the back of the picture and the category a) b) or c).

10.        By entering the competition you kindly give your permission for your photographs to be used for publicity purposes for the Orchard.

11.        The judge’s decision is final.

Thursday, 10 May 2018


On Saturday 5 May we enjoyed a Blossom Viewing at the  Orchard. The flowers were truly at their best and we were delighted to welcome so many visitors.....some who'd never been there before. We are delighted this year that some trees (Newton Wonder) almost under the canopy of the Copper Beech, have got plenty of blossom which we've not had before.  Fingers crossed there's no frost and we get a good set. The next job will be thinning the fruit which will be at the end of June, after the "June drop" 

You're not too late to make a visit .....blossoms should be around for another week to 10 days. Sit awhile and enjoy!

Limpsfield School

This picture shows the children at Limpsfield School who won prizes  this year, in the Annual Poetry Competition, sponsored by the Community Orchard. Each year the children who visit the Orchard regularly are asked to write about apples and pears and how they feel about seeing them grow!
The winning poems are laminated and hung on the trees for everyone to see.