The cellar of a public house isn’t your standard setting for horticultural experimentation, but on a Saturday morning in early March the cellar of the Eagle + Child pub Ramsbottom was set – laid out like the autopsy of the wicker man – with twigs, branches, tree roots and compost neatly arranged, awaiting the eager group of Incredible Edible members, keen to learn the dark art of apple tree grafting...
Led by invited guest Philip Rainford (the apple guru of the North) from the South Lakelands Orchard Group (SLOG), we learnt just what it takes to create life, apple tree style! Splicing the variety of apple you wish to grow onto the roots of another tree to control its ultimate size, we each Frankentein-ed our trees together and crossed our fingers that we’d found a match made in appley heaven.
Thanks to the masterful direction of Philip, we did indeed create life! Our bare twigs have since sprouted leaves and Incredible Edible is now the proud parents of a good few new apple trees. The next question though – where to plant them!
The session included an expert tutorial on how to graft; a selection of 'scion wood' (e.g different varieties of apple to graft with); the opportunity to practice grafting on as many trees as was managable within the time....(about 3-6 each) - and we got to take home two apple trees of our choice, all for a tenner!
This was a fairly limited group and was offered to our orchard regulars first, if you'd like to be included next time and want to hear about talks, sessions and future activities from Incredible Edible Ramsbottom, sign up to our mailing list and make sure to select Holly Mount Orchard.
If you'd like to know a bit more about fruit tree grafting, take a look at this informed article written by our good friend, the very talented garden designer Sharon Hockenhull.