Hello there! Thank you for stopping by. I’m an orchardist and pro gardener based in north Manchester, UK. I have a deep and abiding interest in orchards: their history, their culture, their establishment and management, and of course, cooking with and eating their fruit.
This is the sort of content I post on a pretty regular basis:
Time allowing, I try to post a longer piece once a week or so (or once every few weeks, if I’ve been working on a particularly long-read item). You can catch up with them in the feature articles archive, and here are the three most recently posted:
- Hügelkultur in the Orchard Nursery
- Gallery: Lifecycle of an Apple, From Bud to Blossom to Fruit
- Another Grafting #EpicFail – A ‘Family’ Tree, Killed by Canker
Most of my longer articles are on the subject of orchard work, with particular emphasis on top fruit planting, pruning, thinning, pest & disease management and harvesting, as well as background info and orchard science (fruticulture / pomology).
I’m steadily developing a bank of ‘How To’ articles, offering practical advice, orchard work methods and solutions to common problems, including the likes of:
- Winter Pruning Cordon Apple Trees, ‘Short Spur’ Method
- How To: Pick Apples and Pears
- How To: Thin Out Apple and Pear Fruitlets
- How To: Identify Apple and Pear Varieties
- How To: Top-Graft a ‘Family’ Apple Tree
- How To: (Hopefully) Prevent and Orchard Aphid Nightmare
- How To: Check for a Maggot in Your Apple
- How To: Turn Windfall Apples into Spiced Apple Compote
- How To: Make Medlar Cheese and Medlar Jelly
- How To: Make Pear-Stuffed Baked Squash
I also write about orchard history, orchard tradition and historical orcharding techniques, and review particularly fascinating and/or useful fruit growing or orchard-themed books, under Book Notes. And if I visit an orchard I do try to write up one of my Orchard Visits post by way of a guide-post for fellow orchard enthusiasts to follow.
Short Reads and Snippets
I like to trawl through old pomology and orchard management books, looking out for interesting clues to the development of orchards and the changes in methods and techniques used to look after them across the centuries.
From time to time I find a section of text, piece of advice or grand pronouncement that particularly fascinates or amuses me, or is still just as relevant today as it was when it was published.
Check out the Quotations archive.
Some of my research has taken me into the historical cookery book archives, where I’ve come across all sorts of delicious-sounding orchard fruit based recipes from years gone by. I’ve been posting the tastiest-sounding, with a bit of translation (usually from Olde English) and/or commentary where appropriate.
Check out the Orchard Cookery archive and the Historical Orchard Recipes page.
Ads of Yore
Every so often an old fruit nursery catalogue or text-book yields an advertisement for an eye-opening bit of of orchard kit, or some weirdly or amusingly-phrased claim to a product’s greatness, which I like to share (hey, it’s a hobby, keeps me off the streets…)
Check out the Ads of Yore archive.
I take a lot of photos in the orchards that I help to look after, and I’ll sometimes find an old book or catalogue with some rather lovely illustrations, so you’ll occasionally find a post that’s mostly pictures.
Check out the Gallery archive.
I also try to share interesting, informative and useful websites, Twitter accounts, or articles on other blogs that I come across. Eventually I hope to put together a more structured links library, but for now,
Check out the Linking Out archive.
If there’s a particular type of content that you’ve been enjoying, or would like to see more of, please do drop me a line or let me know via @orchardnotes on Twitter.