Appletree Cottage, Loch Lomond, Scotland
When things ease up after lockdown Appletree Cottage is the place come and visit. Set in beautiful rolling countryside at the southern edge of Loch Lomond it is the perfect location for walking, cycling and exploring in clean fresh air.
The cottage itself has its own private garden and every bedroom has its own private bathroom with shower, w.c. and wash basin making it ideal for post-covid get togethers.
The one downstairs bedroom is ideal for elderly friends or relatives who find difficulty climbing stairs. A large open plan downstairs communal living area and patio provide plenty of space.
To avoid crowds and visiting busy supermarkets, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Asda and Tesco all deliver to the cottage. For last minute requirements there is a well stocked mini market within four minutes drive as well as a pharmacy, newsagent and excellent butcher. These shops operate strict rules of allowing only one or two people in the shop at one time (depending on which shop it is) maintaining the safety of shop staff and customers.
The roads around Appletree Cottage are all quiet single track roads with occasional passing places. The road past Appletree and beyond forms part of the national Sustrans Cycle Route 7 which in its entirety runs from Sunderland in the north of England to Inverness in the highlands of Scotland. As these roads are quiet they are also popular with cyclists and walkers who are just exploring them for a day out.
In the United States Muir is credited for being instrumental in the protection and foundation of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. More can be read about John Muir here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Muir. In Scotland the John Muir Trust was formed to protect wilderness and more can be found about the trust here: www.johnmuirtrust.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrKnu7czl6QIVQuztCh0OAQ9jEAAYAiAAEgJI0_D_BwE
Cycling and Walking, Loch Lomond
From Appletree Cottage there are plenty of places to cycle and walk. One of our favourites is to cycle down to the village of Gartocharn and from there to go along the path through the nature reserve by the shore of the loch. At the end of this beautiful trail through the woods the views up the loch are spectacular as are the collections of wading birds to be seen.
Cottage Garden enhancement
Whilst Appletree Cottage has been closed to visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic we have taken the opportunity to enhance the garden area by adding a small rockery with a picket fence and gate to protect it from any harsh wind. We have also planted up rows of willow and refurbished the lawn areas. We hope that you'll chose to come and visit us when we re-open (hopefully July / August) and are able to enjoy the many advantages and beauty of Appletree Cottage!
The orchard at Shand0n Farm, home of Appletree Cottage was in full bloom last week.
The trees - the oldest of which were planted six years ago grow bigger every year.
Despite the mild winter the blossom on the trees is quite amazing
There are three orchard areas - the main orchard planted in March 2014, the western orchard planted a year later and the paddock orchard planted in 2018 & 2019. The western orchard is the closest to the cottage and was successfully added to last year.
Creating a wind break
One of the first things we did, at the same time as planting the main orchard was to also put in a wind break. For this we chose Willow and Hornbeam. The willow, which went in as pencil sized sticks can be seen on the left of the picture below. Hasn't it grown!
In all we have planted 48 varieties - many of them Scottish. Some are surprised to discover that there was a lot of apple growing in Scotland - particularly in the Clyde Valley, Lothian and Fife. When the supermarkets became popular and centralised their distribution Scottish apples didn't fare so well - partly because they bruised in transit. Many orchards were grubbed up in the 1950's - 1970's. Recently there have been revivals of the old Scottish varieties and orchards are being planted across the land - albeit on a relatively small scale. Below is one of the excellent Scottish strains - Beauty of Moray. This apple, although a cooker produces a beautiful crisp clear juice which we bottle, pastuerise and sell locally.
The eastern or paddock orchard was planted in 2018 and 2019. By way of variation we planted the centre of this area on the same mm106 rootstock as the main orchard but the peripheral rows are on mm9, less vigorous stock with the trees closer together.
Over by Appletree (luxury self catering cottage for 8 people) is the western orchard. This was planted in 2016, much of it on what was a former stock yard. The soil here is not as good as the other areas so the trees have required more feeding. Drainage was also initially a problem but works undertaken over the intervening period have alleviated the situation.
In this area we have also planted blueberries, cherry and plum trees.
In total we have planted 350 trees. With all this blossom our fingers are crossed for a good harvest this year!
For the third year in a row we are having a long, dry, sunny period in Spring. Whilst very pleasant we do have to keep an eye that recent plantings and young flora don't run dry. Here are a few things which are in full bloom in this beautiful weather....
This year we tried a selection of Tulips. These bulbs produce flowers in many different colours and styles. Particularly satisfying were the red and yellow variety we planted in an old fam feeding trough.
Forget-me-nots grow wild now having been introduced as a small clump. Pretty and tenacious they have spread to many parts of the farm. We're encouraging them to take over even more as they are very attractive at this time of year.
Daffodils are a good reliable favourite. This double crown offers an alternative to the common variety.. Near the Appletree sign by the gate there are some with miniature heads.
Stone feeding troughs which we inherited when we took over the farm have proved very useful planters. A few holes drilled in the base and they're ready to go...
Wall flowers are very attractive - especially when planted against the white harling. This particular one has been coming back for year after year..
During the Covid 19 lockdown we've taken the opportunity the start a rock garden in the cottage garden along with picket fence and gate. Two colours of rhododendrons (red and white) have been planted along with grasses, primroses and a large selection of bulbs.
With the beginning of May the apple trees around Appletree Cottage and Shandon Farm are coming into full bloom
The trees around Appletree Cottage are part of the more recent planting.
The glorious sunny weather we've been having provides great opportunity for the bees and other insects to do their bit. The blossoms on the trees range from white to deep pink.
As well as around 350 Appletree's we have 2 pear trees - which this year are looking very promising. We may get our first pears yet if this blossom is anything to go by.
The Beauty of Moray trees are a very similar shape to the pear trees and have a similar amount of blossom this year
The first trees were planted in March 2014 and have now started producing apples in reasonable quantities. After picking we press the apples - mixing varieties together - to produce juice which we bottle and sell locally.
During the recent lockdown for Covid-19 it has been sad to see the cottage empty of visitors during such spectacularly beautiful weather. Hoping that you'll all come and visit us when things get back to normal. In the meantime stay well and stay safe.