Finding the right subject to write about is difficult, the world we are living in is a surreal one and previous everyday subjects pale in significance as the desperate battle for lives continues in hospitals and care homes across the nation.
With many fruiting and ornamental trees in blossom, The English Apple Man shares pictures sent in by Agronomists 'crop walking' in our grower's orchards and a few selected from my own garden.
Below: A Family Tree in The English Apple Man's Garden Red Devil, Discovery & James Grieve
The beautiful weather over recent weeks has brought on the blossom in Apple, Pear, Plum, Cherry orchards which are either in full bloom or very close to it.
Below: 'Ornamental' Malus Crab Apple in EAM's Garden
In gardens and hedgerows wild cherry, ornamental cherry, malus and a plethora of blossom and flowers are at heir beautiful best. Normally we would be taking a ride to enjoy the 'bountiful beauty'
But as we are in lockdown it is nice to share the beauty of our countryside.
Once again I am reliant on my Agronomist friends for 'orchard updates and pictures' to whom I am most grateful.
Below: Jazz in bloom in the West Midlands from my Agronomist friend in Herefordshire
From one of my Agronomist friends in Kent
"Orchards approaching full bloom - Some frost damage and wind bruising is apparent"
Below: left; Braeburn blossom and right; Red Windsor in bloom
Below: left; Opal Apple in bloom and right; Conference Pear fruitlets
From another of my Agronomist friends also in Kent
"Rosy Apple Aphid appears well controlled from Pre blossom insecticide at present. Tortrix and winter moth caterpillar either controlled or missed either by application or not, due to quick growth stages over last weekends warm weather.
Seen the first scab on Gala leaf today. Grower decided to pack up growing but then changed his mind in some orchards so sprayed late. 1st application only 2 weeks ago. Early sprays so important. In all other orchards no Scab seen at present.
Primary mildew around but a reasonably low levels.
Pears looking good although some frost damage.
Blossom smells really strong this year. Particularly Braeburn. Lovely!
Frost on Wednesday morning. -1.5c air frost -5c ground frost apparently at Frittenden".
The pictures show Cherry Blossom, a Busy Bee heavily laden with pollen, Frost damage in Gala from about two weeks ago, Poor leaf quality on Gala from waterlogged roots/root death over the winter and Conference Pear fruitlets.
Below: left; Cherry Blossom and right; a Busy Bee heavily laden with pollen
Below: left; Evidence of frost damage from frost about 2 weeks ago and right; Poor growth on Gala caused by root death from waterlogged roots over the winter
Below: In The EAM's Garden - left; Bladon Pippin at Pink Bud and right; James Grieve in bloom
Below: In The EAM's garden; left; Red Devil and right; Red Windsor tree in bloom
While we have a modestly sized garden, we have a beautiful mix of shrubs and trees.
Below: Our Tree Peony
NEW RURAL POLICY GROUP WEBINAR CONFERENCE ENTHUSIASTICALLY RECEIVED.
Pat Crawford, Rural Commentator, reports.
The Rural Policy Group, set up earlier this year as an independent think tank focused on defining and assisting the rural economy, couldn't have begun life at a more crucially important time. With Covid-19 taking centre stage in everyone's thinking, it is not surprising that the group's inaugural webinar conference entitled 'Cash' under the banner RED (Rural Economic Development) attracted delegates representing a wide range of rural industries including dairy, arable, fruit, horticulture and food production.
Held on 16th April, delegates were welcomed by conference chair Sarah Calcutt (Marden Fruit Show Society chairperson). The debate that followed very much focused on how to handle the financial aspects of dealing with a crisis that is massively affecting virtually every business sector.
James Lawson of MHA MacIntyre Hudson Associates commented "At the present time, considered cash management should be a fundamental focus for all. Where applications for interruption finance are contemplated, owners and management teams should be prepared to demonstrate the underlying financial health of a business prior to the pandemic and to set out a financial and strategic plan of how the funding will facilitate survival and a return to growth."
The UK's farming and food sector produces about 60%of the food consumed in this country and as such it makes vital economic and social contributions, never more so than in relation to our ability to deal with the current crisis. Rural Policy Group chair Mark Lumsdon-Taylor commented: "At a time when the food chain is critical, the voice of food and farming needs to be debated in a fresh and effective way".
It was clear that the delegates agreed with this perception. Director-General of the Institute of Directors Jonathan Geldart said "I am pleased the first RPG talk on a business-critical subject such as Cash has been well received
The speakers expressed strong views about how we can support rural business and how cash can be effectively managed. We look forward to developing our voice for the rural economy through these dynamic talks".
The RPG is organising a programme of events, RED conferences and round-table virtual discussions. The next RED conference, focused on health care, will be at the standard time of noon on 30th April.
That is all for this week, please stay safe and pray for everyone suffering with Coronavirus and all the NHS personnel and Carers and residents in Care Homes
The English Apple Man