I spent the last week on pilgrimage to the North, staying in the Viking village at Murton Park. It was a wonderful escape from everyday life and was topped off by the discovery of apple seedlings sprouting in the area around the old apple tree behind the site of the recently-burned-down forge. I rescued a good number of them, and have added them to my apple tree stash. One seedling is a second-year survivor, which has been chopped off at some point but is sprouting well. Of the rest, four look pretty good, and three very feeble. The parent tree was badly damaged by the fire but is sprouting on one side.
On my return home, I found that one of my Braeburn pips has sprouted, which brings me back up to three after one of last year’s seedlings mysteriously died. The seed came from a pack of six apples that I bought in April from Morrisons, and unlike the first batch they are from the UK.
After six months of rain over the winter, followed by a few days of blissful warm sunshine, we’ve returned to icy blasts of north wind and drought conditions. All the trees in the orchard are alive, except for the old (probably Victoria) plum which had to be removed last year because it had silverleaf fungus right down into the roots.
Last year, most of the trees lost their fruit due to May frosts. Will the current frosts be early enough that the trees won’t mind? Only the plum and damsons are really in flower yet.