Sourcing specific apple varieties or discovering new ones can be difficult and very time-consuming. Garden centres tend to stock only the popular varieties and more specialist nurseries are few and far between. Help is at hand. The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is launching the first online database which lists every known UK-grown variety of orchard fruit from apples and pears to medlars and mulberries providing a way for gardeners, cider-makers and orchard owners to find nurseries that sell them. Continue reading
Bumblebees are struggling to survive. In the last eighty years, two species have become extinct and the others are in dramatic decline. Traditional orchards can provide a haven for bumblebees [and solitary bees] particularly if the grassland beneath the trees supports a wide range of bee-friendly flowers. In return, bumblebees will provide a free pollinating service for the fruit trees as they forage for pollen and nectar in spring. Continue reading
Wildflower meadows at Pentwyn Farm, Gwent
With careful management the orchard floor can become a thriving wildflower habit which is not only good for the wildlife, but also good for the soul. Traditional orchard meadow is an important refuge for many species of birds, bees, bats and butterflies as well as the perennial wildflowers on which they depend. A popular and effective way to support biodiversity in your orchard is to manage the sward as hay meadow.