Wortley Hall Walled Garden

Orchard

The only fruit we inherited on the site was an avenue of pears, including two old Belgian varieties, "Beurre diel" and "Soldat laboreur" - the only known example of this variety in northern Britain.  We have have continued to plan more.

Original avenue of pears

Pears in blossom.

Remedial pruning - removing some of each tree's crown to stimulate new growth and encourage stability and easier picking of fruit.

Most of the pears were choked with ivy, making the trees top heavy and unstable.

Crown-reduced Doyenne du Comice heavy with fruit.

We have put over a part of the site to creating an apple orchard, with a selection of cultivars suitable for the region, including many regional heritage varieties.

Young apples receiving a mulch after producing their first fruits.

November 2007. Planting one of the seventeen different Yorkshire heritage apple varieties kindly supplied by Charlie Rusling of the Northern Fruit Group.

Bees from the resident hives swarmed regularly during Summer 2010. In this picture, the beekeeper is hoping the bees will move in to the empty hive on the ground rather than leave the area.

The orchard blossomed better than ever in May 2015, mainly as a result of a fine summer the previous year.

Howgate Wonder trained as espalier, with first crop of fruit we have allowed it to bear, autumn 2015.

First flush of apples from the 2007 plantings on MM106 rootstock. This is Hunt House, an old Yorkshire cooking apple from the Whitby area, from where Captain Cook sailed on his pioneering expeditions. Legend has it he stocked his ships with Hunt House apples as a defence against scurvy. They certainly make a very tasty baked apple.

Picking Devonshire Quarrenden, 2011. Prolific bearer of small dark red apples, probably originally a variety from the Carentan district in France, but grown in England since at least the 1670s. Despite its name and geographical origins, it is renowned for its hardiness, and so is a popular choice all the way up to Scotland.

Sunset variety, at sunset in May 2013. Bred from Cox's Orange Pippin nearly 100 years ago. Nearly as good a flavour, but more suited to cold, wet districts than the Cox. This tree is on M25 rootstock, which may reach 30ft, but is already bearing prolifically after just a few years.

Part of Apple Day display, October 2013. Some examples of the Yorkshire varieties beginning to bear:                                          
Back row, l to r: Yorks Beauty, Hunt House, Grandpa Buxton, Yorks Greening.                                                                                
Middle row: Fillingham Pippin, Flower of the Town, Green Balsam, Charlestown Pippin, Sharleston Pippin.                                       
Front row: Yorks Aromatic, Ribston Pippin, Sykehouse Russet, Yorks Cockpit, Nancy Jackson.

Using the south facing wall to grow pears in espalier form. First and second tiers forming on a Louise Bonne of Jersey.