Our 1000 tree orchard is full off blossom which is a promising sight for a healthy and full crop of fruit in the Autumn.
Our orchard was planted in 2002 so isn’t far from 20 years old! It covers 3 acres and has a range of traditional varieties of fruit trees.
On our visit to the orchard today there was a very significant ‘buzz’. When we looked closer we could see that it was honey bees very busy collecting the pollen from the blossom. There were literally thousands of bees! We studied them for some time and on closer inspection you could actually see the pollen sacks on the hind legs of the bees – some full of bright yellow pollen and some still working on filling their sacks. The pollen is stuffed into hairy receptacles on their hind legs called corbiculae. A single bee can carry about half her own body weight in pollen – thats a lot! What we saw today was really nature at it’s best! Although we cannot be sure, we very much hope that the honey bees that we saw today are from our very own hives opposite the farm shop – fingers crossed we will be in for a great crop of honey. They certainly were super busy today1
It is thought that honey bees usually forage on only one kind of flower on any single trip so in our case will keep visiting the blossom in the orchard. This is nature’s way of assuring that plants are cross-pollinated. So a bee going to apple blossom, keeps going to apple blossom until there are no more blossom flowers, then she will switch to something else.
We couldn’t resist taking a picnic and stopping a bit longer – just watching all the bees was fascinating and the buzz that they were all making was really loud. Luckily, they weren’t bothered in the slightest about us being there – they were much too busy for that!
The plum and pear trees have already had their blossom which has now dropped. You can see here the fruit is beginning to set and form. Pears on the right and plums on the left – looking forward to these being ready to eat.
The fruit grown can be seen freshly picked in the shop and in a range of desserts to include the ever famous homemade Bramley apple pie!