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Bumper year for apple blossom after ‘sunniest April on record’ - National Trust

Today's 'And Finally' is something to enjoy now but also something to look forward to this autumn: apple pie, yum!

A mild winter and weeks of continuous sunshine have resulted in a good year for apple blossom, according to the National Trust.

Yorkshire Cockpit apple blossom at Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire. (© National Trust Nick Fraser)
Yorkshire Cockpit apple blossom at Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire. (© National Trust Nick Fraser)

Temperatures of up to 24 degrees centigrade, little rain and a record amount of sunshine in April helped the development of a heavy bloom, boosting the possibility of a fruitful harvest this autumn.

The warm conditions led to bees being more active while the lack of high winds allowed the blossom to open for longer, meaning more flowers were pollinated.

The Trust cares for over 200 traditional apple orchards across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and grows hundreds of heritage varieties of apple tree.  At Cotehele, in Cornwall, whose trees are among the first in the country to spring into life, staff reported an outstanding display. The property has 10 acres of orchards and over 125 varieties of apple tree including the Cornish Honeypinnick, Limberlimb, Pig’s Nose and Lemon Pippin.

Head Gardener Dave Bouch said: “It has been an exceptional year for blossom this spring. “Apples are biennial when it comes to cropping, so they will naturally have better years than others, and the crop is very dependent on rainfall over the coming months. That said, the scales are tipped towards a great crop this autumn.”

In March, the National Trust launched #BlossomWatch – a campaign to encourage people to take notice of blooming trees from their windows or in their gardens, and to share their best images on social media.

Thousands of photos have since been posted and the content has been viewed over 4 million times.

This renewed appreciation of nature could in part explain why this year’s blossom has been so popular, according to Nick Fraser, Head Gardener at Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire: “We’re into the sixth week of lockdown now and people are craving nature. Perhaps one of the reasons why this year’s blossom seems so spectacular is that we’re all paying closer attention to it, we’re taking time to properly stop and look and reflect.”

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