9. Great Orchard in Historical Estate Verhildersum, Groningen

After some e-mails finally came to meet and shake hands with the people in the place we both knew for years, — strange enough, visiting Verhildersum almost every month (at least for the local markets, but also with friends to the museum part and the estate building) we never gave attention to the orchard. Happy it changes! And when you look at the world around with your eyes wide open and willing to see good things and to learn — opportunities seem endless! This set of photo’s is only a small start, have to do some homework and answer for myself the questions I got during 1 hour walk yesterday.

I have no idea how many of you, reading this, already visited with JJ or with me this place or read some photo-stories in the Russian blog (just as example — here & here), but for those who know nothing — it is worth to start with the story, that the whole 17th century estate, formerly a living place of the rich families with servants, is managed and restored and run since 1982 by an independent charity foundation — with different groups of volunteers working as guides, receptionists, event leaders etc. And sure there is a group of volunteers who take care of the garden (NL only). I wrote in mid-April over grafting and a chance to see how it is done and may be get the twigs, but it was already too late for this season, — well, life is hopefully long and again have to switch on patience.

But it was great to see the proper well-maintained orchard in blossom! For the novice, and that is what I am — despite even a short training in agriculture while in the University (all what I neglected making choices for birds) — have to add here my Questions and links to Google-searched Answers :-)

  1. Well, at least I knew that different varieties not only ripen in different timing, but also flower with some time difference. But happens to be new — that apples differ in their need to have pollinators. And some are self-pollinating, but the others need cross-pollination, and there is even an issue of compatibility. Wow. Impressed with this table (pdf), but have to concentrate further on the European (or better even northern Dutch) varieties. One more example here. I wonder if my bees also read these instructions?
  2. I noticed that when describing a variety experts also give attention to flowers, — but for me, strange enough, all apples so far look the same. Leave this open for the time being.
All photo’s are mine — Lena Lebedeva-Hooft; 16 May 2017; Verhildersum

3. That is how the properly maintained orchard with historical fruit varieties should look like… Yes, sure we realised that our trees, especially the three old ones we have, were planted far too close to each other — that adds up to the challenge that they were not pruned for years… On spacing — as example. Again: have to search proper info per each variety.

All photo’s are mine — Lena Lebedeva-Hooft; 16 May 2017; Verhildersum

4. Sure I was happy to see some varieties I am thinking of for the future. Ananas Reinette is one of those. Hope to have 2–3 twigs to graft it next year on our Reinette tree when the ID of the latter is known. And seems it is one of the most traditional Dutch Reinettes. Aha, just found: it needs pollinizers — GOEDE BESTUIVERS: O.a. Bauman Reinette, Cox’s O.P., Reine des Reinette, Transparente de Croncells, Transparente Blanche (Oogstappel).

All photo’s are mine — Lena Lebedeva-Hooft; 16 May 2017; Verhildersum

5. Happens to be a special apple for me — Rode Pippeling, good I found it also in Verhildersum. I still fail to find a goog online description… Aha, labeling the fruit trees is also a special thing. Love the choice here, but have to search further what is written on the tags — I mean I am sure that R 6–14 (compare with R 1–9) means something, but hardly a year they were planted. A place of the tree on the orchard scheme? Because all the varieties and even the history of every tree is sure in the great database…

6. One more photo of that R 6–14 tree. Curious how old this tree is… And cool website of the group has also the video from 2007 — where two experts are tasting this very Rode Pippeling (at 10–28, part of the video in Gronings, — really the language that I still hardly understand).

7. And sure this variety below is very traditional northern Dutch. Here is the fruit.

Also admired at the website of Verhildersum Orchard Group — list of all varieties (here), a very handy clickable photo-guide (here), — but what is even more important — that the group is very friendly and welcoming. Most likely we come more often, — to learn and to help. And this is only a very small set of photo’s I took to remember the day and my Q&As — every day is a day to learn (also some special grafting techniques, yes, next time).

And sure it is a place to visit with friends who land in one hour in Schiphol :-) and reach us, hopefully, late tonight — especially that the local market is this Saturday.

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