As a continuation of Bath Nats outreach work with Dyrham Park we took our display boards and orchard related specimens for this weekend event.
The weather was dry and chilly, but a gazebo was provided that gave us a good base amongst the pear trees and other orchard activities organised by the National Trust team to attract families and the public to this lovely orchard.
A quick foray amongst the trees yielded a fallen pear branch festooned in lichens and mosses which we were able to label and display to demonstrate that ‘there’s more to a pear orchard than pears’.
On examining a pear tree we found bright red spots on the surface of some of the leaves which underneath bore strange volcano like eruptions. This was Pear Rust (Gymnosporangium sabinae), a plant disease caused by spores of a fungus from ornamental varieties of Juniper that infects the leaves of Pear Trees to complete its life cycle. This small but unusual specimen was a hit with visitors to our stand, many of whom had seen it on their own pear trees.
We were also able to find some orchard fungi and these, together with our ‘bugs in a box’, were an attraction for families with young children.
It was a big commitment to be at Dyrham Park for a weekend, but we felt it was worthwhile in terms of inspiring the younger generation about nature, and spreading the word about Bath Nats, but we were disappointed that there was only one other Bath Nats member to share it with.
Alan and Marion Rayner