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Re Diana Mitchell's comment on Jan.4th. I thought I was unique!! My oriental poppies were also flowering at Xmas, and I live in the "frozen " north-east of Scotland. Surely we are experiencing definite signs of climate change. So much for the sceptics.
Here in the Scottish Borders we're in the middle of a wintry period of snow and ice and the birds are finding it tough to get enough to eat. Why not check out your apple store now and put out any damaged/ rotting ones for the birds. They won't mind the condition of the fruit.
i read your article on 'rotten apples' with some trepidation, having recently fractured my ankle and tibia on rotten apples/wet leaves whilst getting carried away with picking the glut of apples to make a dessert. no-one has been out to recover the apples collected and can only assume they are well and truly rotted.unfortunately i can't put a health warning on this innocent form of activity but perhaps a high profile celebrity like yourself can regularly remind those fruit pickers of the hazards that lay out there esp. at this time of year.
Poppies, poppies everywhere, but interestingly I have only one snowdrop!!

As to slippery apples, the answer is to pick them promptly, or at least get them off the ground rapidly...on to the hedge or large bird table if you cannot eat them all, then there won't be any slippery-potential to slip on! Hope the ankle is feeling better though, you poor thing!

We too had a fantastic apple year. I saw a grey squirrel making his way through the apple trees, to realise a few minutes later he had gone to the topmost branches to retrieve a huge eating apple. He settled down at a branch junction and tucked into his booty. I think he'd been there before - they were the only apples we couldn't reach left!


Mmmm, I have a thing or two to say about squirrels this year......catch an up and coming blog from me in a while, they are enjjoying a population explosion chez moi!!
i feel so stupid i cant follow the instructions for pruning an apple tree, can anyone help
In 2006 we had our apples juiced and had the grand total of 60 bottles. Last year we did the same again and came home with 360 bottles. Wow! Was it a good year. There were still some for us to cook with and for the birds.
HELP. My apple trees produce fruit then drop off before they have a chance to ripen what am I doing wrong, they are espalier trees one eater and one bramley, this year will be there third year I am really hoping for some edible fruit this year
HELP. We recently moved into a new house with a lovely little garden but the apple tree in it seems to be covered in a fine white almost fluffy mildew. Does anyone know what it is and how to treat it?
Den & Liz, has your apple tree been pruned recently? I find my Cox apple gets fluffy mildew at pruning sites, but it goes away without any treatment. I'm sure Pippa will tell us what it is.
I moved into my house nearly three years ago. It has a sth-east facing garden with two apple trees in it. One is eating Cox's, I think, and the other cooking possibly Bramley's. Both trees are old, I'm not sure how old but they could be 20-30yrs. The thing is the fruit, the eating tree is so tall we can't harvest before they fall and when they fall they've been got to by insects, birds and other damage. The Bramley's are better and the tree is a little smaller but really needs pruning. We have been considering getting rid of the tree near the house (eating tree) but realise the other tree needs it as a pollinating partner. I'm in two minds, the tree in question is tall with dead branches and over shooting into next doors (on both sides) gardens. It casts shade over a lot of the garden but it host to a couple of bird nests. All of the fruit from it ends up buried in the border bed or in our compost bin. Shall we prune it back and try to rejuvenate the poor thing or get rid? By getting rid I do mean recycling as mulch and wood burning logs for my Mum's stove and our b-b-q. If I do get rid what shall I put in its place in order to pollinate the other tree? I'm a keen gardener and most of my borders are devoted to growing mainly veg as well as fruit.
Hi I planted many small fruit trees last winter and only a few are producing leaves. These are half way down the main trunk but above the graft, the top branches are dead. What should I do
Reckon that 'fluff' is woolly aphid, and yes it often appears close to pruning cuts. The aphids produce the white waxy fibres as a protective measure and when they feed on young branches you may see some swelling too. If you don't like to use chemicals then simply put up with the infestation, or you could try scrubbing/crushing the colonies with a stiff brush! For those happy to use chemicals, then you will get some reduction in the problem is you use bifenthrin, but please follow the instructions very carefully.
Thanks for the advice, Grannyanne and Pippa, you've been a great help. Sorry it took me so long to reply but my computer has been on the fritz. Love and luck to you both.


Hi Pippa,can apple trees be pruned now or is it too late, the one which over hangs our garden is very tall and the apples can't be reached for the top 10' or more,our neighbour said we could prune it has she didn't eat the apples anyway.We picked all we could reach last year,we haven't had time this year because of having to replace fences which blew down in the high winds and heavy rain which water logged our garden again for the second year.
My Bramley apple tree has not produced any blossom for the second year although it looks perfectly healthy. I thought it maybe blossom weevil so last year I pruned it really hard and got rid of all the prunings immediately. This year I placed four heavily greased bands on the tree and also sprayed it every couple of weeks with insecticide, there is lots of new healthy growth this year but not one sign of blossom. Can anyone please help?
Can anyone help. We live in South West France, and have a lovely garden with many fruit trees. Sadly the apples on one or two of the trees have rotted before they are ripe. What can I do to make sure that this does not happen next year. I wouldn't worry too much usually but Jaque our huge male Dalmation uses the garden as his personal self pick, and we do not want him eating rotten apples.

By the way Jaque also helps himself to strawberries, keeps an eye out for windfall cherries, is looking forward to the peaches and nectarines, and he and the squirrels have had all the hazelnuts between them. believe it or not he taught us about the location of pine nuts, and as long as I crack some for him, he brings me the cones so we can share.

I had lots of windfall apples this year.They were gathered up and prepared by removing all the damaged area. Then peeled and sliced. They were stewed with sugar, and popped into the freezer,ideal for blending with Blackberries later in the year.
I have a five and a half acre plot in Ross-Shire Northern Scotland. Half an acre of which is overrun with a bamboo which is 8-10 feet tall, leaves 4 -6 inches long , many remaining on the plant throughout the winter.Thin woody stems. Very invasive. Name - sorry despite much searching through the RHS Bible and others I cannot identify.The area is very wet to the point of being boggy in places. However the overall plot soil type is sandy loam. The bamboo is overshaddowed by many fair size trees. Any thoughts as to how I can rid myself of this beautiful, in moderation plant, a curse in the volume I have.

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