As some of you will know for the last few years myself and Nick Black have been running Apple pruning courses, these have been growing in popularity and we try to find a new venue every year to challenge people and also to give people the best experience possible.
I think this year we may have surpassed ourselves and its with much delight I can reveal the venue for our upcoming courses is….. (please imagine a drumroll at this point!)….
Columbine dates back to the 14th century, its current owners, Hew and Leslie Stevenson, have spent the last 20 years lovingly restoring the house and grounds. When they first came to Columbine Hall it had been lying empty for 10 years, in 1993 they set to work restoring it and brought in Designer George Carter and employed Head Gardener Kate Elliott.
Kate’s love for the garden shines through and the owners and herself have been amazingly kind to allow us to use their Orchard, which is a perfect age and size, to train a few people on how to prune Apples, Pears, Medlars and Quince.
Kate was kind enough to give us a full guided tour on our visit, which included a peek inside the clockhouse, the west barn, this is hired out for events such as weddings and christenings and the Gig house, which has been converted to a holiday let. The quality of the workmanship is incredible.
Columbines history is fascinating, its previous owners were notorious and illustrious. Ranging from Sir James Tyrell, the supposed murderer of the princes in the tower(1483) to Robert Carey the grandson of the “other Boleyn girl” and rumoured to be the illegitimate grandson of Henry the VIII. Most recently the Hall and its grounds were used as training centre for the Landgirls in WWII and when the moat was dredged recently 100s of Marmite jars dating from that era were found in the spoil! Being a Marmite fan I can thoroughly approve of this but not of the disposal!
Columbine was also one of the few gardens featured in Barbara Segall’s book ‘Secret gardens of east Anglia’ You can find my review of the book here and find out more about Barbara and where to pick up your copy here
We have 3 dates this year for extra flexibility and ease of attendance
- 16th February 2019 – Saturday
- 24th February 2019 – Sunday
- 2nd March 2019 – Saturday
The day will run from 10Am to 4PM and will include hot drinks, Soup, bread and some sugary treats such as cake to keep your strength up!
Nick is a fully trained arborist & whilst we don’t expect you to be climbing huge trees his knowledge of both how trees work & horticulture is invaluable. Nick can be found normally working as The Muddy Gardener. You can also find him being cheeky on twitter @imnickblack
As for me, I have nearly 20 years of looking after fruit trees under my belt, trained at Pershore college under John Edgerly, then at Ryton Organic gardens, I moved onto become the Veg gardener at Sissinghurst where we established a large Orchard under Amy Wardman who had been the Fruit student at RHS Wisley and was very generous at passing on her knowledge.
It was there that I first started training people to prune fruit & it gives me great joy to help people become confident and proficient.
The day will start at 10am where you will all gather and we can discuss where your skill level is as we are happy to take on absolute beginners through to those that have experience & want to progress.
You will be shown all the tools you will need and have their safe use & maintenance explained to you. Then we will go through pruning maiden trees to establish the correct framework for freestanding, espalier, fan & other styles of fruit trees.
After a short break, to warm up & refuel on hot tea & cake, we will start to tackle the big trees! This will give us an excellent opportunity to discuss different methods of pruning & the reasons for it. If you have a tree which has got out of hand this will be exactly what you need!
A break for a warming lunch of soup and then..
Once the demonstration is over you will be let loose on your own trees with both of us at your beck & call for advice if you get stuck!
Finally, we will gather to discuss any questions & do a quick session on apple tree pest, diseases & disorders.
The day will cost £70.00 per person but will include Drinks, soup & snacks
Also £20 will go straight to Marie curie via my Just giving page
If you’d like to sign up just fill in the form below and I will send you further details or if you wish to buy it as an xmas present for a loved one and keep it as a surprise we can arrange that too, look forward to hearing from you