More signs of growth

Looking back now it seems quite some time since the return of the lapwings and curlews followed around mid-April by the swallows that nest in our barn.

Seed Sowing

Now that we’ve reached the first week of May I look at the results of my early seed sowing with a slight air of disappointment. A hard lesson has been learned yet again about planting too soon.

This time around I waited a little longer before planting but didn’t make any allowance for our new location after moving much further inland and 1000ft above sea level.

I can take the blame for the timing perhaps but it’s too soon to apportion blame for the poor germination rate for seeds sown indoors. Depending on the results of the more recent sowings I’ll know soon enough whether it’s the seeds or the sower.

Fruit Trees

On the up side the 5 fruit trees (plum, pear and 3 apple) all seem to be coming to life so my first attempts at tree planting were successful. Hopefully they haven’t suffered any ill effects after spending some time in standing water due to the heavy rain over the winter.

Although the weather has been fairly mild since the start of the year we still got a frost at the start of May so it was lucky that I had a roll of horticultural fleece stashed away.

Ghosts in the garden?
Ghosts in the garden?

I have been pleasantly surprised to see the Victoria plum is already flowering very nicely – I hadn’t quite expected to see flowers so early in the year. Obviously I need to read up a bit more on all the fruit trees so I can make sure they get a good start in life in their first full year here.

Victoria plum
Victoria plum

The pear and 3 apple trees are much slower to get started but within the last few weeks all are making a start on leaf growth.

James Grieve apple
James Grieve apple

What makes an orchard?

I had ordered 5 fruit trees some time ago but it wasn’t until I came to plant them last weekend that I found myself pondering whether my efforts would qualify as an “orchard” or even if there was a formal definition which specified a number of trees.

In my mind, the term implies a fairly large number of trees and conjures up images of west country cider orchards which gnarled old trees laden with fruit. The trees I bought are only 1-year-old and arrived bare root so they’re not much to look at right now.

As a result of all this I was perhaps understandably hesitant to use the term “orchard” when referring to our limited number of trees. After all there are only 3 apple trees (James Grieve, Meridian and Queen Cox), 1 pear (Concorde) and 1 plum (Victoria).

Luckily a quick check on Wikipedia seems to show that I’m right…

An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production.


Based on that definition, I can confirm that the picture below shows our newly planted orchard and I’m looking forward to the first harvest in a couple of years!

Trust me, it's an orchard!
Trust me, it’s an orchard!