• One damson tree

    Following on from my last post, this shows you exactly what one tree can do. All the trunks in this picture apart from that on the far right (an early prolific plum) are one tree - five satellite trees around the one old stager with a prop. This suckering is a wonderful way for a tree to promote its future, and since the tree must originally have been a sucker transplanted from another tree or a seedling then all the 'children' trees come true to type. Further down the orchard we have a damson, bought & planted some twenty years ago to replace a fallen veteran. Clearly this was a grafted tree as its suckers have created a small spinney of wild plum trees (the nursery root stock) with rather tasteless small green plums, but fabulous for making jam.

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  • Damson trees - the unknown ancients

    Damson trees are something of a regional speciality in these parts, around the knot of Heref. Worcs. Shrops. borders. Most often one finds them in old hedgerows, but there are a handful of damson/plum orchards still in existence - all very old as these trees have not been planted commercially for many a day. We have damsons in our hedges here at the farm and several trees in the garden and orchard. With the Prunus tendency to suckering - most often observed with dense blackthorn clones - we find that several of our old trees have spawned four or five satellite trees, sometimes 25 or 30 feet away from the parent, which gives a remarkable indication of the root spread. On some of the Commons around here there are whole mini woodlands of damson - sometimes with a couple of hundred stems. It woulld be fascinating to DNA fingerprint these to ascertain whether or not they have all sprung from one original tree. My hunch is that they have, in which case it poses the question - exactly how old are these trees? We may be in the realm of hundreds of years.

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  • The best place to see wild daffodils

    We've just had the Daffodil Weekend at Kempley and Dymock, but due to the very mild winter & early spring the blooms were already going over in some places. Right on the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire border lies Hall Wood (I featured it here a couple of years back) & for me this is one of my favourite sites for wild daffodils. Here is a landscape of woodlands unencumbered with conifers and adjoining pastures that have never been ploughed or improved. The added bonus is that I usually have the place to myself. The coverage of flowers seems to be remarkably variable from year to year. In 2016 one part of the wood was almost solid yellow with so many flowers crammed together, but this year the flowering was very sparse. Conversely a pasture alongside the wood was well covered with many small groups of flowers, although never quite enough to give that true golden carpet effect. These delicate little wild flowers are so much sweeter to me than their big blousy garden cousins, partly because I love to think of them just quietly growing and spreading for hundreds of years.

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  • A new small black hairy member of the family has arrived

    It's not all about trees. Dear old Molly died at the ripe old age of 16 just over a year ago & since then we've been thinking about whether we should go for a new partner for Flossie, aged 7. We finally jumped and two days ago Jessie, aged 8 weeks, has joined the team. Flo is slightly uncertain about this tiny wagging black thing that seems desperate to make her acquaintance & is steering cautiously around her, just coming to terms with the newcomer. It'll be fine in a day or two. Eric the cat really not sure at all, but again he'll get used to it. Lovely to start out on another adventure with a new animal. Pearson Bark now has both its logo Scotties back in hand.

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  • Special Outing to The Major Oak around 1895

    What a beautiful image! Latest acquisition for the archive is this enchanting group portrait of a school or perhaps Sunday school outing to the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, some time around 1895 I would guess. The children certainly seem dressed in their best for their excursion and close study of the costume reveals many fancy bonnets, beautiful lace details to dresses, and smart jackets for many of the boys. The children in the front row reveal their boots well-studded and blakeyed - some may be wearing clogs. Everyone remained perfectly still for the exposure apart from one tiny child in the front - perhaps the baby of the group - who passed into posterity as a ghostly blur. Unfortunately no information on the reverse of the card mount, but a glorious vignette of a grand day out.

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Archie Miles photography

Archie's Blog

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