Heritage Apples and grafting

Our ambition is to increase the number of Leicestershire Heritage Apple trees around Harborough.

Heritage trees are old varieties that have survived the local climate and so possibly proving themselves suitable to local conditions. The Leicestershire Heritage Apple Project ( Nigel and mel in leicester) have so far identified over a hundred different varieties of apple trees.  We, the Grafters and Growers in Harborough, hope to run annual grafting work shops, to achieve this aim.  

having more apple tree varieties will support biodiversity – so that there is a range of genetical diversity (of apple trees) from which climate and environmental changes may select from. This will help to secure a variety of robust apple tree varieties in the future.

More local apple trees will also support having more free local food.

We ask for help from the experienced Leicestershire Heritage Apple project team (Nigel and Mel), who lead our annual work shops, teaching  the skills of grafting, and discussing other interesting aspects. 

Two newly grafted apple trees will be taken home by the grafter ,to their garden or growing space, to be nurtured. The grafter will become the Apple Tree Guardian for that tree. These Apple Tree Guardians will observe how their tree grows, and effectively become an ‘Expert’ for that variety. So not only will there be more apple trees, but there will also be more ‘Experts’!

The location of the newly grafted apple tree varieties will be mapped, so we can see their distribution around Harborough. We hope to monitor the growth of these newly grafted trees, taking photographs which we can down load onto our website. And lo!… a virtual orchard will emerge on the screen for all to observe!

Eventually, the Virtual Orchard Community of Apple Guardians will have a chance to meet up, as we plan to arrange events, about how to prune, how to protect against diseases, and how to nurture the apple trees. These events will be open for everyone in Harborough to attend, and share ideas and knowledge.

Each year, we would like to invite the Guardians to support us at our Annual Apple Day event in Harborough in october.  Eventually people will be able to bring a sample of their apples to show  -inspiring the next generation of grafters!

If you are interested, do text or e-mail Judith Egan on 07967152483 or maycottage12@hotmail.com.