Does Summer have its own seasons? Well maybe, certainly on the Common there is one Summer season that I like which is the Honeysuckle season. On
our Common there is a lot of honeysuckle climbing trees and scrambling over scrub and in the evenings, when the coolness of the air persuades the flowers to pulse out their scent, you can walk on the Common and smell the waves of that rich fragrance.

General Work

Over the Winter and Spring we performed a variety of small tasks. I looked at our list of potential 22 jobs and we did 14 of them. That very unwelcome cold,
wet weather kept us indoors.

We began trying to improve that lowest corner of the Common at the junction of Chalk Hill and Windmill Hill by planting some trees: one Common Alder
and three Silver Birches. It needs more work. Fortunately, a villager who has been a critic of the drainage there had arranged for Mark Averill, Head of
Highways, to come and examine the problem at that junction. He agreed that drainage improvements are needed which I think will help us, since the work
will include landscaping the corner - work far too heavy for us - so would make it much easier to add our improvements. It will be a good job to do.

In the Village Pond a silted bund has been built around the inflow from the road to try to filter out some of the polluted road run off. Some plants have
been added. Some attempts to continue to populate the pond with plants, particularly open water species have not gone so well. I planted a good sized
native White Water-Lily (Nymphaea alba) which disappeared within a few days! I will try again as such a plant might be enjoyable to have in the pond -
unless it gets too big, always a worry. I had some success planting Brooklime.

The heat and drought is making the pond look unpleasant again but so are other ponds in the area that I have seen. The only good thing about it is making it
possible to remove some of the silt and maybe have a look at the bed of the pond.

Our Informal Orchard on the Common

For a few years now we have been planting apple trees on the Common. I think that we have now planted 11 different varieties. Choosing apple varieties is
complicated. There are several considerations if you want variety that might provide a range of apples through the season. Presented with the Bernwode
Nursery catalogue describing about 500 different varieties you are both impressed and can be bewildered and grateful for the people, ’pomologists’,
who have made a dedicated study, cultivation and preservation of so many fruit varieties.

Firstly, there is the vigour in which the size of the tree is controlled by choosing a rootstock appropriate to its situation. Then, the use you want from the apple: dessert, culinary or cider, or sometimes all three. Crop season is interesting: fruits from early cropping trees don’t keep well and should be eaten fresh,
within a week or two, but “some are delicious, with unusual fresh flavours which do not appear in later fruit”; mid-season apples, picked in September and
October, will keep for one or two months; late varieties often need to be stored for the full flavour to develop and can be stored over Winter. I should add that
all these categories are dependent on the variety. Next are the Flowering Groups 1-7 which relate to flowering and therefore pollination times. The idea is to
choose varieties in which flowering times overlap for pollination. There does seem to be a nice way around this complication, which is to plant a crab apple.

(This information is gleaned by referencing the excellent Bernwode Nursery Catalogue)

As you can see, with knowledge or good advice it would be possible to have apple varieties available to eat for 9 months of the year. In fact the whole
subject of apple tree cultivation would be fascinating if it wasn’t so bewilderingly complex. One of the many fascinating little worlds within our World.

Possibly a more interesting planting we have done is of 3 locally cultivated cherry varieties. We chose Prestwood Black and Prestwood White plus Mum’s
Tree and have planted them in a triangle close to the pond.

Otherwise small maintenance tasks go on where and when required during the Summer.
Graham Thorne