Hard graft to regenerate Newby Hall orchard

The gardening team and volunteers at Newby Hall. (S)
The gardening team and volunteers at Newby Hall. (S)

The gardening team and volunteers at Newby Hall near Ripon have got down to some hard graft as they started a concerted effort to preserve and regenerate Newby’s historic fruit orchard.

The grafting workshop, led by Hilary Dodson of the Northern Fruit Group, introduced a new skill to some of the group, while for others it was a chance to improve their technique.

Head gardener Mark Jackson said: “We had a good day and managed to produce 57 new apple trees which included 28 different varieties. We have them in a nursery bed to nurture until they are ready to be planted out.”

Newby’s orchard was planted in 1896, so with many trees approaching 130 years of age and with increasing losses over recent years, the future of this historic orchard has been in jeopardy.

Steve Williams, from Newby’s gardening team, has set up the Newby Orchard Group and the progress they have made in a short space of time bodes well for the future.

Newby Hall’s 25 acres of beautiful gardens delight more than 130,000 visitors during the open season and the six full-time gardeners are supported by 10 volunteers, who have become a vital part of the team.

The 2014 open season begins on Tuesday, April 1, with a wide-range of special events throughout the year. Mark and his team are keen improve the wider horticultural knowledge of the visitors and are running a series of workshops for visitors.

For more details about head gardener’s workshops running from April and costing £30 per head, visit www.newbyhall.com