Maintaining our orchard

Red apples on apple tree

We started to replant the old orchard at Naish Farm, home of Honeybuns Bakery, 4 years ago. The sole survivors of the original orchard were a Bramley and an old fashioned eating apple. We’ve added hazel, plum, damson, walnut, pear and various varieties of apple trees. As always we were on a bit of a budget, so most of the trees were bought bare rooted and planted over the winter. This proved way more affordable than buying pot grown.

We’ve fenced off the orchard to protect it from our over efficient pony and donkey mowing team. The issue now is how to keep the grasses and other meadow flowers from choking the younger trees. Strimming is OK for smaller, specific areas but we’re nervous about damaging any tree trunks which could be fatal for the tree.

We think we’ve hit upon a sustainable, eco friendly solution. After visiting the Green Fair on the Somerset Levels, scything seemed to be the obvious answer. Even in just the last 4 years our young orchard is lush with poppies, ox eye daisies, clovers and grasses to name just a few. Once this beautiful carpet has flowered and gone to seed we plan to scythe it.

Wooden picnic table in field

We were then advised to graze the orchard with sheep who won’t eat the trees. The fact that such discriminating beasts might exist was news to us. Here they are.

So, we’ve chanced upon a time old method of orchard management; namely making hay in late summer and then grazing in the Autumn. Thus allowing both trees and meadow flora to thrive and in turn support a plethora of wildlife.

It’s already become a very special place and the Bee Shack Cafe visitors are welcome to explore it and sit in amongst the trees with their Honeybuns tea and cake.

For us, the Honeybuns team, it is a special place to go and kick back after a morning’s baking and soak up the timelessness of it all. Magical. Especially as there’s no phone coverage…

Come see for yourself on our Bee Shack Cafe days.