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Today  marked the start of the new season – the first spray: copper oxychloride  on the fruit trees. Perfect day – sunny, no wind, and  warm enough to work in shirt sleeves. Then  Estelle delivered the 4 bare rooted fruit trees I had ordered from Yalca nursery – a Simone and a Lapin cherry; a Pink Lady and Jonathan apple.  All now in the ground but with much closer spacing than I would normally plant. Hoping this will minimise vigour.

Two days ago J and I grafted the small bit of bud wood I had collected from Sandy Taylor’s of the last surviving Eakins’ Early we think in the District. According to Geoff Bishop’s history  of Basket Rang,  James Eakins bought cuttings from Ireland in a bottle of water in 1866 and settled in BR in 1875. Sandy’s family grew it on their orchards as one of their early varieties- harvested in late Jan. One last tree at Sandy’s and when I went collect it from Sandy’s the tree was 99.9% dead – we could only find one 20 cm length of live wood. So J and I did some bud grafts and a whip graft hoping it will survive. The buds were tiny and not very healthy.  I also took some Summer Strawberry scion wood and hoped to graft them today but  the new trees took priority.

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