Horticulture Wales branches out – and hopes to be fruitful
A man whose discovery of an ancient apple helped spark new interest in Wales’ forgotten fruit trees is to speak about his work at an upcoming event.
The Celebration of Welsh Heritage Fruit Trees event – led by Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s Horticulture Wales project – will be held the RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve, on Monday, 18th February, 2019.
Between midday and 3 pm a range of activities will be on offer, including the launch a new ‘Welsh Heritage Fruit Trees Cluster’, promoting the planting and mapping of orchards in Wales.
Among those attending will be Ian Sturrock, of Ian Sturrock & Sons Fruit Tree Nursery, Bangor. Ian discovered the Bardsey Island Apple in 1998, – a discovery which revitalized both fruit growing and the North Wales economy.
Ian said: “The discovery of the Bardsey Island Apple created a surge of interest in Welsh heritage fruit varieties.
“This, in turn, has led to the production of juices, cider and other commodities, which has boosted local jobs and economies.
“Hopefully our reintroduction of the Denbigh Plum, after a gap of a hundred years, will lead to a similar revival of interest and job creation in the local area.”
He will be at the Event to share his expertise, and explain why the trees are so important to Welsh culture, heritage, the environment and the Welsh Economy.
Welsh growers, orchard owners, and horticultural businesses are all encouraged to attend the day, which has been funded by the Welsh Government, and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Visitors can also find out about planting and caring for traditional heritage varieties of fruit tree, which are native to Wales – and even if they have an undiscovered tree of their own in their garden or orchard thanks to Dr Danny Thorogood, a leading Welsh plant expert.
Dr Thorogood will be talking about the Welsh Plant Breeding Station, of the University College of Wales Aberystwyth, which is marking its centenary this year and has hosted a Welsh Perry and Cider Society ‘Heritage Museum’ orchard thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding.
He will explain about the centre’s unique collection of Welsh Heritage apple and pear cultivars, and how DNA fingerprinting techniques were used to identify trees unique to Wales.
Anyone with unidentified apple or pear trees can bring fruits, leaves, twigs or buds, for Danny to take back to test and identify for a small fee to cover laboratory costs.
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