Kate Ball

Lovely laburnum

Or, balancing nature with infrastructure This is a gorgeous laburnum tree which is covered in bees for a month or so each summer when it flowers (some sources say laburnum has no nectar- the bees seem to disagree) and each autumn when the ivy flowers. This year, blackbirds nesting in the ivy raised three broods-

Tree planting season: Hardwood cuttings and seeds

The leaves have started to fall, the trees are going dormant, we’ve got a few months where the weeds will grow more slowly than we can dig them up or cut them down, so it must be time for transplanting and propagating trees and woody shrubs. And also for chopping overgrown herbaceous plant clumps into

Roe Farm Trees Are Here!

We’re nearly ready for our first planting session on 23rd November: This is the Woodland Trust free community trees delivery- we have a delivery of another 300 trees on the way which have been kindly sponsored by Michael Clarkson. Together with the trees Derby Council Parks Department have already, we will be planting over 1000

The Community Orchard

By Alexander Johnston There is a community orchard in Kirk Langley, tucked away off the lane. It’s a hidden treasure trove of fruit and berries. It’s open to the public, and I think it’s really good because it has everything from cooking apples, pears, quinces and sloes in the autumn, to raspberries and elderflower in


OK, so really this is just a recipe. Or rather, a series of warnings about how not to cook nuts and fruits. But science does come into it. Specifically, Mr Boyle’s bits of science linking pressure, temperature and volume. The problem is that, like popcorn kernels before they go all big and fluffy, apples and

Pears with Everything

A few years ago we moved to a house with a Conference pear tree in the garden. Weird pruning means the pears mostly grow at the ends of huge spindly branches- no good for climbing, but fine for shaking the fruits off. Each year, the tree produces more fruit than we can eat. It produces

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