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June 5, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden progress

2014-05-23, AWG StrawberriesWhat’s growing right now ?

I popped in to see Phil for an hour on Monday afternoon, who updated me on what he’s currently delivering to Apley Farm Shop & The Creamery Café there: new potatoes (International Kidney variety) (Gavin’s likes few things more than delicious potatoes), red spinach, green spinach, globe artichokes, mixed salad leaves, Little Gem lettuces, Lolla Rossa lettuces, All Year Round lettuces, radishes, rocket (my favourite) & spring onions. He’s also got celtuce growing, a cross between celery & lettuce which I’d never heard of. Tayberries, blueberries, white currants & kohl rabi will all be available later this season.


Phil Allen, Head Gardener of Apley Walled Garden’s caught the squirrels eating the strawberries which are growing so well in the melon pit. When he told me, it reminded me of the scene in Wind in the Willows when badger & co appear from the underground tunnel & the rats scarper !  Our Apley strawberries are very tasty, heavily watered until they reach maturity, which gives them their great taste. Our Apley customers know that our Walled Garden produce has not spent weeks sitting in a cold, dark warehouse or on an air conditioned aeroplane, but has come 0.9 miles up the road.

School visits

Back on 8 April, Phil visited Worfield School & this month is visiting another local school for 3 Thursdays, to talk to them about food miles, crop rotation, gardening fruit & vegetables, farming methods, nutrition, healthy eating, etc. We’ve had some great group tours recently, who booked via our website.

Red Tractor

Apley Walled Garden & Apley Farm Shop are amongst the suppliers to Telford College, part of the University of Wolverhampton. They’re very pleased to have now gained their Red Tractor award, which assures food standards & supports using sustainable, local sources of produce. “Red Tractor Assurance was established in 2000 & is the UK’s leading farm & quality food assurance scheme“.


I am not suggesting we try to grow Apley bananas just yet – but – I was horrified to read (in The Week in March) that bananas face international annihilation due to a fungus. That would certainly force us to change our eating habits quickly & find an alternative ! 95% come from a single variety called the Cavendish banana, named after the 6th Duke of Devonshire, who employed Joseph Paxton as his head gardener. “A fungus which causes Black Stigatoka, until now the most damaging disease for the Cavendish, is becoming resistant to fungicides“. Now a second disease, Panama disease (which rots the fruit), could totally wipe out the Cavendish. Panama disease is carried by a fungus called fusarium. So far, there’s no fungicide which can treat the Panama disease. It can stay dormant in the soil for decades, ruining plantations. A new strain of the Panama disease is called Tropical Race 4 (TR4) has already destroyed plantations in SE Asia & Australia.

Garden Angels

Some of our much valued Walled Garden volunteers have set up Garden Angels to ‘breathe new life into your garden’. They really enjoy restoring gardens & seeing a big difference (as they’ve done at Apley !), rather than smaller garden maintenance projects. They’ll work within a 30 mile radius of Apley Farm Shop.  If interested, call Sarah 07701 018922 or



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