Last week we were cutting the grass around our orchard trees accompanied by an aerial display of dragonflies swooping over the new-mown grass. The plums are ripening and we have already harvested some. The twelve crab apples trees we planted in the early spring have done well despite the dry spell during April, May, and June. These were trees of about 2.5 metres in height when planted; fortunately they had good root systems and we were able to plant them securely. One variety called John Downie, of which we planted three specimens, are fruiting really well and we should get a crop of crab apples to make jelly. John Downie is an old variety of crab apple, mostly bred with a cross of our own wild crab (malus sylvestris) and Siberian crab apple (malus bacatta). The blossom of crab apples is good for fertilising other species of larger fruiting trees and is therefore good to plant up in a mixed orchard. We have planted two other varieties, Red Glow with red flowers and fruits and Golden Hornet with white to pink flowers and golden globes of yellow fruit. An excellent variety with large red fruits and large red fruits is Harry Baker. We will hopefully plant one or two of these this autumn, assuring us of a good quantity of fruit for jelly-making in the future. The jelly is a good accompaniment for game meat and cheeses.