NATURE’S MELLOW FRUITFULNESS Warm harvest fruit puddings
Jewels from the woodland floor
Discovering Jane Austen’s countryside
Dahlias | Acers | Autumn berries | Apple brandy | Pumpkins and squashes | Harvest fruits | Bookbinder | Jane Austen | Cheviots | Cobnuts | Tawny owls | Ashridge
Sept / Oct 2013
Issue 10 | Sept/Oct 2013 | £3.90
LandScape - Life at nature’s pace
Sept / Oct 2013 £3.90
Life at nature’s pace
A lasting show For a glorious burst of late-flowering colour, nothing beats the dahlia
The elegant, deeply cut leaf lobes of Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ become tinged with pink and crimson
HERE are years when autumn seems to arrive by stealth; creeping up slowly as leaf by leaf, trees gradually turn to a deep red or a lazy amber. In others, foliage can erupt almost overnight into a dazzling display of fiery shades. However the season arrives, one thing is certain; when a tree in its full autumn glory stops you in your tracks the chances are it’s an acer. From rugged sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) or maples such as Acer brilliantissimum, with their cream and shrimp-pink foliage, to common field maples (Acer campestre) turning to gold along the hedgerows, this is a family of undeniable show-offs. But it’s the varieties such as Acer palmatum and Acer japonicum that really steal the autumn limelight. Commonly known as Japanese acers, their delicate grace and strong architectural form, combined with breath-taking colour, means their distinctive leaves can lift any garden design – first with their spring foliage and then their brilliant autumn colours. Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’, for example, has deep purple leaves which later turn a brilliant vivid pink. Their spectacular autumn colours, which can vary from deep golden yellow to dramatic blood-red and burgundy, depend not only on the acidity of the soil, but the amount of light the trees receive during the growing season. Those leaves that get most summer sunlight achieve the best autumn colour. Acers have been grown in Britain since the 17th century, with the Japanese varieties being introduced by Victorian ›
Glorious autumn colour As the seasons gently change, it’s time for the acer’s foliage to begin its blazing display
Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’. Its brilliant fiery-red foliage is a real garden show-stopper
Left: from top to bottom: Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ (vine-leafed maple); Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ (downy Japanese maple); Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’; Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’
“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them” John Ruskin, On Art and Life
Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ (Full-Moon Maple) is a slow grower that provides excellent architectural interest
• Words: Pam Richardson
Andrew Mills is nursery manager at Burncoose Nurseries and Woodland Gardens in Cornwall. The nursery won a Gold Medal at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, with acers as a central part of the display. Andrew has over 20 years’ experience in horticulture and looks after thousands of plants, shrubs and trees. Acers are among his favourites. “They’re so versatile,” he says. “They’ll fit into any size or style of garden, and just as much at home in a pot as in a woodland setting. Wherever you plant them they’ll provide architectural interest and colour throughout the year.” Andrew’s preferred variety is Acer palmatum ‘Scolopendriifolium’ (A. Linearilobum). “The leaves are very long and delicate; they turn from green to a soft yellow in the autumn. There’s also a deep purple version, ‘Atropurpureum’. “Another good choice is ‘Shaina’, low-growing, dense bush with bright scarlet foliage in spring, turning deep maroon in autumn.”
Andrew’s growing tips • Keep the soil moist at all times but never waterlogged, and mulch soil to keep moisture in. • Pot-grown acers should be kept well watered – twice a day in summer, if necessary. Make sure there is excellent drainage by putting crocks in the pot before planting. • Don’t plant in a windy site or frost pockets. Most acers are hardy but their young spring growth can be killed by frost or disfigured by wind scorch, especially fine-leaved varieties. • Prune lightly from late summer to mid-autumn by simply removing any branches that spoil the shape of the tree.
Photography: Gap Photos; Andrew Mills
plant hunters at the end of the 19th century. Landowners, inspired by an Anglo-Japanese exhibition held in London in 1910, grew them on their estates – Kew and Tatton Park still have fine examples. The older varieties have the most stunning leaf architecture and richness of colour. They thrive in most soils and are found naturally on the edge of woodland, where they benefit from the shade and shelter of neighbouring trees. Given the choice, acers will grow best in a soil that is acid to neutral, but most will tolerate some alkalinity and do well in a container of ericaceous compost. They partner most plants and to complement their architectural brilliance, surround them with acid-loving shrubs such as pieris and azaleas. For even greater impact, a shade-loving Fatsia japonica or a darker-leaved yellow sambucus are ideal. Their colour variety covers a wide spectrum, from fresh green to dark burgundy-black. Some have pink, cream and green mottling, others are splashed with bronze and gold or edged in red as they change colour in spring and again for their autumn crescendo. Leaf shape also differs widely, from the strand-like Acer palmatum dissectum to the rounded Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’. And it’s not just those fiery colours and graceful leaves that hold attention; look closely and you’ll see tiny flowers on the slender stems, to be followed by tiny winged ‘helicopters’ carrying seed. To get your own collection started isn’t difficult – varieties such as Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’, ‘Garnet’ or ‘Bloodgood’ are widely available. Others such as the new ‘Fujian Red’ may take more tracking down. But be warned: going in search of each of their jewel-like colours may become a gardening obsession.
Acers in your garden
Acer palmatum ‘Linearilobum’
Acer palmatum ‘Shaina’
English holly (Ilex aquifolium ‘Pyramidalis Fructu Luteo’) Fiery autumn foliage colours complement the muted yellow berries of this seldom seen evergreen, which can be grown as a large shrub or small tree
Mulberry wine (Gaultheria mucronata, syn. Pernettya mucronata) Growing male and female forms of this acid-loving shrub close to each other guarantees a mass of gleaming berries from mid-summer through to spring
Little gems Trees and shrubs prepare to yield a fresh beauty – branches adorned with jewel-like berries and fruits 26
OUNTIFUL BERRIES ARE the jewels of the autumn garden, glistening in the low sunlight as late summer flowers slowly fade. It’s the berries of deciduous trees and shrubs that often glow most brightly, complementing fiery autumn foliage colours to create a spectacular seasonal display. While gleaming red berries may initially be the most prolific in gardens and hedgerows, more unusual colours predominate as autumn turns slowly to winter. The simple reason for this is that it’s shiny red berries that first capture the attention of birds. Berries are a vital food source for many native and visiting birds, particularly in the winter, and it seems that birds will invariably choose to eat red ones first, stripping branches of holly, hawthorn and yew in a matter of hours. Perhaps it’s because red berries are easy to spot in among hedges and garden borders or because they’re the sweetest of the many crops available. Either way, if you want to hang on to bright berry colours in the garden for as long as possible, consider plants with pink, purple, yellow, orange or even black berries. Perhaps Euonymus europaeus with its flamboyant magenta and orange berries, or Clerodendrum trichotomum with metallic blue berries that glow in autumn sunlight. Berry-bearing trees and shrubs will produce more fruit and hang on to it for longer if they’re grown in a sunny, sheltered spot, rather than in shade or an exposed location. Varieties with unusual berries, in colour and form, will make them much less tempting to birds while still appearing highly decorative to our eye. ›
Beauty berry (Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’) As its leaves become tinted with golden purple, they are joined by large, dense clusters of vivid violet bead-like berries which continue to thrive long after leaf-fall
Barbary (Berberis macrantha) This lax-growing deciduous shrub looks most effective when several specimens are grown together. Bare branches laden with berries create striking floral arrangements
Ripe for the picking Plump and heavy with hearty goodness, pumpkins and squashes are now in abundance
HE RICH, VIBRANT colours of their thick, sturdy skins are synonymous with autumn; their ample, weighty bodies full of nutritious goodness. In the kitchen, pumpkins and squashes are an incredibly versatile seasonal staple. Ideal for soups, they can also be used to create a simple, tasty side dish and are substantial enough to be the main ingredient of a hearty main course. Make the most of this yearâ€™s harvest with these delicious recipes â€ş
Pumpkin and apple mash Serves 4 900g pumpkin flesh 1 vegetable stock cube 1 Cox’s Orange eating apple 25g butter 2 tbsp cream or milk 2 tsp wholegrain mustard salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the pumpkin in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Crumble in the stock cube. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15–20min. Drain well. Peel, core and dice the apple. Melt the butter in a small pan and add the apple, cook over a low heat for 4min until the apple is just beginning to soften. Add the cream or milk to the pumpkin and mash well, then beat in the sautéed apple and mustard. Season to taste and serve immediately. Delicious with grilled lamb chops.
Chilli garlic squash Serves 2 1 butternut squash 1 red onion 2 fat garlic cloves 1 red chilli or ¼ tsp red chilli flakes few sprigs rosemary 5 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place both halves in a roasting tin. Peel the onions and slice into very thin wedges. Chop the garlic and chilli. Scatter the onion, garlic and chilli over the squash and add a few rosemary leaves. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45min–1 hour at 190ºC/gas mark 5, until soft. Towards the end of the cooking time toast the pumpkin seeds in the oven for 10min. Serve sprinkled over the roasted squash.
Cheesy squash bake Serves 6
500g squash flesh, cut into 1cm thick slices
200g English cheese such as cheddar, Red Leicester, Wensleydale
2 leeks, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g courgettes, sliced
a little freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs
pinch cayenne pepper
Cook the squash in lightly salted boiling water for 5min or until only just tender. Drain and tip into a buttered 1.2litre gratin dish. Next, blanch the leeks and courgettes in boiling water for 2min, drain well and arrange on top of the squash. Beat together the eggs and milk. Grate the cheese and stir into the egg mixture. Season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Pour over the vegetables and sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper. Bake in a preheated oven 180ºC/gas mark 4 for 45min, or until set and golden brown. Serve with salad.
Ingredients • 115g unsalted butter, softened • 95g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting • 30g dark brown soft sugar • pinch of salt • vanilla pod • 2 egg whites • 250g plain flour
Press out the leaf shapes then lay each one on a rolling pin, pressing the pastry lightly so it forms a rounded curve
1. Combine the butter, icing sugar, dark sugar and salt in a bowl and beat until both colour and texture lighten. Slice the vanilla pod in half and use the back of the knife to scrape the seeds into the bowl.
The biscuits will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container
2. Add one egg white and whisk for 2min until the mixture thickens. Add the second egg white and whisk for a further 2min until the mixture thickens again.
3. Fold the flour into the mixture with a metal spoon, adding more until the mixture is no longer sticky. Dust a surface with flour and lightly knead the dough. Divide the dough into two and wrap each half tightly in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 30min.
Gently curling with golden tips, these biscuits are a clever idea for autumn baking
Edible leaves These delicate leaf-shaped biscuits make an unusual accompaniment to afternoon tea 54
4. Heat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Dust a surface with icing sugar, roll one batch of dough very thinly to a thickness of between 1mm and 2mm. Press out the leaf shapes with the cutters, and lift each one with a knife on to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Place some biscuits upside down with their icing-sugared surface facing upwards. Bake, one tray at a time, for 4 to 6min or until the tips of the leaves turn golden. Remove from the oven and, working quickly, use a spatula to lift a biscuit and lay it over the rolling pin. Press the biscuit carefully so it rounds a little over the pin and leave to set for 30-40sec. Return the tray to the oven for 1min to reheat the remaining biscuits, and repeat the process until all have been shaped. If the biscuits break, roll the remaining dough a little thinner or bake for a shorter time. • Photography: Richard Faulks • Design: Emma Kendell
“Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste”
Stately screen settings
Jane Austen, Pride And Prejudice
Some of England’s finest houses have brought the fictional locations of Pride And Prejudice to life
Belton House in Lincolnshire was used as Rosings, the impressive estate of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation starring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.
In the 2005 film adaptation of Pride And Prejudice starring Keira Knightley, Burghley House, in Stamford, Lincolnshire, was chosen as the location for Rosings.
The church of St Nicholas, Steventon. Members of the Austen family, including Jane’s father, were rectors here from 1759 to 1873
walking alone to Netherfield in Pride And Prejudice. She writes of her “jumping over stiles with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within view of the house, with weary ankles, dirty stockings and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise”. Her arrival in dirty wet petticoats causes a stir with the Bingley sisters in their London finery. Jane mixed regularly with the Hampshire rural gentry – another rich source of inspiration – attending balls at local stately homes such as The Vyne and The Assembly Rooms in Basingstoke. She was also a frequent visitor to Manydown Park, the estate home of the Austens’ family friends, the Bigg-Withers. It was recorded at one of the many social functions held there she was seen to dance with a young Irishman, Tom Lefroy. It is understood the young couple were smitten, but his relatives whisked him away to Ireland to prevent a fledgling romance, simply because neither of them had any money.
A marriage proposal soon followed when the heir of Manydown Park, Harris Bigg-Withers, asked for her hand in marriage. Jane did accept only to change her mind the next morning. She turned her back on all the material advantages of marrying a wealthy man because she did not love him. There are suggestions she had a further short-lived romance but the young man, who died shortly after their relationship ended, is never named. Jane had a special talent for capturing the often painful rituals of courting, coupled with her observations of rural life, which made for inspired story-telling. The countryside was where Jane was at her happiest, then when she was 26, her father retired and the family moved to Bath. Jane’s sadness and displeasure at this urban location, and its society, is well documented in her letters. After her father died suddenly in 1805 she, her mother and sister Cassandra, moved back to Hampshire to a cottage in ›
Above: Pemberley, the home of Mr Darcy, has been portrayed on screen by Lyme Park in Cheshire. Below: Steventon rectory was the Austen family home until 1805. There, they kept cows, chickens and grew their own produce
The grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire were used to portray the exterior scenes of Darcy’s grand country estate Pemberley in the same film.
Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire, the ancestral home of the Sitwells, was also a filming location for Pemberley – this time in a 1980 television adaptation.
Photography: Alamy; Getty
Above left: Bath will host a series of Pride And Prejudice bicentenary celebrations this September. Above right: the novelist is buried inside Winchester Cathedral
“That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings of characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. What a pity such a gifted creature died so young.” Sir Walter Scott, 1826 Chawton. Here, settled back in her beloved countryside, she was able to put the finishing touches to Mansfield Park and Emma, as well as work on Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Jane’s books live on as some of our most-cherished literary works and are regularly adapted and dramatised for film and television. On screen, the beautiful houses that have stood in for Mr Darcy’s Pemberley estate, include the 1,300 acre Lyme Park in Cheshire, and Renishaw Hall and Chatsworth House, both in Derbyshire. The county of Lincolnshire has featured heavily in adaptations, with the elegant market town of Stamford standing in as Meryton, while Belton House and Burghley House were each portrayed as Rosings, the scene of Darcy’s first, rejected proposal to Elizabeth.
Steventon today is the same quiet village Jane would have known, and though the rectory is no longer there, in the field where it used to be stands the lime tree planted by her brother James. The church of St Nicholas, where Jane’s father was rector, is open to visitors. Manydown Park was demolished in 1965, but there remains a picture of it etched on a window in the church of Wootten St Lawrence, which also houses a memorial to would-be Mr Austen Harris Bigg-Wither. The Vyne, the impressive Tudor house where Jane attended balls, is open to visitors throughout the year. To get up close to the variety of period costumes used in the various adaptations of Pride And Prejudice, visit Jane’s former home in Chawton, now a museum. Then follow in Jane’s footsteps on a circular walk from here to nearby Farringdon,
taking in the nearby market town of Alton where Jane and her sister Cassandra would go shopping. Fittingly, Jane is buried in Winchester Cathedral, and next to her grave is a permanent exhibition outlining the author’s life and death in Hampshire. And while a flavour of the novelist’s life and her books can certainly be gained from visiting the places that inspired her work, nothing beats reading her immaculate prose, which remains a pleasure 200 years on. • Words: Hilary Scott
Contacts www.bathboxoffice.org.uk www.janeausten.co.uk www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk
A scattering of conkers and maple leaves are arranged on a linen table cloth. To prevent their edges curling, the leaves have been pressed under a heavy book. A jar of lichen-covered twigs makes a simple centrepiece
A single conker and a maple leaf on a plain napkin are used to create place settings
Jewels from the woodland floor 58
This hanging decoration is made by drilling a central hole in three conkers then threading with ribbon
â€˘ Photography: Richard Faulks â€˘ Styling: Emma Kendell
Conkers gathered on a country walk are a natural way to bring seasonal decoration to the home
people The Valley of the Rocks, North Devon
A sudden shift of air Author Marcia Willett takes a favourite autumn walk along the coast in Exmoor
t Luke’s little summer: those few magical weeks following the equinoctial gales that bluster in from the western approaches, battering the last frail summer blossoms, wrenching damaged branches from unprotected trees. There is a special kind of peace that follows this first wild heralding of winter; a sense of waiting. This is not the expectant longing of the countryside as it waits for spring to burst out of the frozen, sealed-in earth. This is a quiet, contented waiting: the satisfaction of something completed and the prospect of a well-earned winter’s rest. Down on the storm-battered coast, the placid sea rests gently against the shore; its surface, smooth and shiny as silk, is wrinkled occasionally by a fitful breeze. Black-backed gulls, driven inland by the gales, are once again following a fishing boat, and I can hear their yarking, raucous cries echoing back from steep cliffs and rocky coves. The beaches are empty now; sand and shingle deserted by the holiday-makers. I wander at the high-tide line, followed by my elderly Labrador who pants along with a piece of drift-wood clamped between his jaws. Two fishermen sit at the water’s edge in companionable silence, watching their lines, the afternoon sun on their backs. In the deep twisting lanes the air is warm and still. Along the hedgerow I see a late crown of faded honeysuckle looping amongst the spiny twigs of the blackthorn, and a few wild roses trailing fragile tissue-paper petals. The lush green canopy of summer has faded and shaded into yellow and brown and red. Leaves, crisping into old age, swirl and twirl in a sudden gust of wind; the beech randomly giving away its gold. I watch the starlings swoop low across stubbly fields, flying upwards in a great cloud, only to fall again, diving through the clear blue air, sleek and graceful as a shoal of fish. Inquisitive heifers barge and trample at the farm gate as I approach whilst beyond them, on the hill above the valley, a tractor moves slowly; the newly turned crimson earth glistening under the plough. Walking home across the high moors, I see that the rusting stands of bracken are damaged, broken down by the storms, but hawthorn berries burn on the twisted branches of ancient trees and gorse is still flowering: ‘When gorse is in flower, kissing’s in season’. Amongst the brittle cages of the heather, tiny spiders fling out silky tents and go tight-roping it across the delicate threads in search of prey. A small knot of ponies clatter from behind a rocky outcrop and gallop down the steep slope towards the sheep-cropped turf that edges the river where curling mists rise and drift above the water like smoke. Autumn is full of colour. The flame of a beechwood; the flare of a bonfire; the glow of a grinning pumpkin at Hallowe’en. The sun rises later, sets earlier, plunging down in a fiery display, to be extinguished in the molten sea beyond.
Photography: Loop Images
Marcia Willett’s new novel, Postcards From The Past, will be published in October by Bantam Press priced £16.99.
“Along the hedgerow I see a late crown of faded honeysuckle looping amongst the spiny twigs of the blackthorn, and a few wild roses trailing fragile tissue-paper petals” 75
Forest of gold Autumn brings its magic to the leaves and footpaths of the Ashridge estate on a spectacular walk in the heart of the Chilterns
Ivinghoe Beacon is the meeting point of two of Britain’s oldest trade routes, the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way
Restored to full working order, the windmill at Pitsone dates back to at least 1627
Right: a map of the eight-mile circular route through the estate. The walk starts and finishes in the village of Aldbury, situated two miles from Tring station
Fallow deer roam in herds preferring the protection of wooded areas to open grass
“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit”
Woodland in the region is now thriving with fungi such as this ﬂy agaric
Befitting its status as an ancient warning beacon, the summit is a superb viewpoint, oﬀering a panorama of English weald stretching away past Aylesbury in a vast patchwork of farmland. Heading south, the path descends Incombe Hole, an archetype of the coombes (or hollows) by which the Ridgeway path is defined. A short detour brings the walker to the fine village of Ivinghoe and to Pitstone Windmill, sitting on a shallow hilltop above the village, its nut-brown, weather-boarded tower contrasting perfectly with the whitewashed stone
of its pedestal. A basic post mill, with a tower that turns on a central post to allow its sails to catch the wind, Pitsone is thought to be among the oldest windmills in Britain. The date 1627 inscribed on its beams implies that it is at least 380 years old. In recent years it has been restored to working order of a traditional wood-and-stone milling process, and although the sails can be turned they are left idle because starting them up causes vibrations that could damage the rest of this treasured historic building. Rejoining the Ridgeway, the path
Photography: Alamy Illustration: Steven Hall
Robert Louis Stevenson, Forest Notes
descends over broad scarps and crosses ancient woodland, passing through the nature reserve of Aldbury Nowers. This was one of the original areas granted protection by the banker and conservation pioneer Charles Rothschild as he formed a list of Britain’s most precious wildlife sites – a list which over time has become The Wildlife Trust. At this time of year the butterflies may be gone, but the reserve still throngs with mosses and mushrooms of all descriptions, from the magpie ink cap to the fly agaric. Finally, the path dips back down to Aldbury, returning you to its serene pond, Tudor frontages and inviting pubs. Rarely can you walk so far and for so long through uninterrupted broadleaf woodland, watching the season turn before you. A walk through the Ashridge Estate sets you on a trail of gold that takes your senses on a captivating journey into autumn. • Words: Nick Hallissey
CONTACTS For more information on the Ashridge Estate, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ ashridge-estate/
The spirit of tradition
In the heart of rural Somerset, the home of the English apple, Julian Temperley has revived the ancient art of cider brandy-making
N THE HEAVY dew of an autumn morning the pale sunshine creeps along the rows of ordered apple trees, their branches droop with red fruits, ready to drop. Once nature takes its course, the fruit will be the key ingredient for an ancient British spirit that has been embraced by artisan cider maker, Julian Temperley. Driven by a passion for heritage and history, Julian has spent years dedicated to bringing back the centuries-old tradition of producing cider brandy. A drink that historically graced the dinner tables of the wealthy English classes, it all but disappeared when a tax on spirits was introduced in the 18th century. After reading and learning about the process, Julian says that making the brandy at his small-scale cider farm in Somerset became “a personal quest” for him. It has also been a task that has demanded skill and great patience. “It takes so long to make cider brandy – up to 20 years – you must be totally committed to making it work,” he explains. “We were reluctant to abandon the principles of artisan cider making, and decided it should be possible to create an intense, apple-flavoured spirit to sell alongside the cider, so we decided to try distilling.” He and his wife Diana grow around 40 varieties of apples on their farm next to Burrow Hill in Somerset and have been respected traditional cider makers since the mid 1980s, but their venture into cider brandy wasn’t always straightforward. After facing a long, frustrating battle to
Julian Temperley and a bottle of his Somerset Cider Brandy, produced at his family farm in Somerset
gain it, the drink now has the vital full appellation contrôlle status, which means that Somerset cider brandy is officially defined by the region it comes from. The orchards at Julian’s farm are proudly traditional. The trees are mature and fully grown, as opposed to the short-lived or high-density dwarf or bush fruit trees that are found in many modern, commercial orchards. He does not use pesticides and the grass in the orchards is kept short by a herd of grazing sheep. Making the brandy begins in October, after ripened apples have been allow to fall to the ground and rest on the grass. This is the true and traditional method of cider making – allowing the apples to ferment on the ground rather than turning the juice into concentrate. “By law, we must include at least 20 varieties of apple in each bottle, which have been grown in non-intensive orchards,” says Julian. “Allowing the apples to ripen on the ground is essential to our process. Fermentation begins when they fall, as starch is converted to sugar. You get more juice and more sugar this way which makes for a better quality.” When the apples are gathered and washed, the process of making the brandy begins. The method Julian uses is contained in an ancient almanac, The Treatise of Cider, published in 1668, which has a passage referring to the discovery of cider brandy. “…And you may after due fermentation extract spirits, vulgarly called Brandy, in great plenty, and very excellent…”. ›