Neil Barraclough initiated the concept of a grafting day with the East Gippsland Organic Agriculture Association (EGOAA). An early Australian group grafting workshop was held in his backyard in Briagalong in the late 1980s. He also put together an extensive data base on heritage fruit. Neil has been instrumental in voluntarily sharing heritage and heirloom fruit tree varieties for many decades. He and his brother Ralph have also been instrumental in finding and naming resilient and adapted varieties on old roadsides – between them they have close to 300 varieties of apples and plums.
His garden in Briagalong was the famous ‘Garden of Eaten’ and he has created another one not far from Stratford on the Avon River in Victoria. For awhile Neil worked for the Diggers Club and he has also assisted young staff at some great outdoor education centres, teaching them about tree crops, gardening and simple sustainable innovations. In fact this was also the name of a facebook page Neil has started. Neil has also created facebook pages for Heritage Fruit in Victoria and NSW.
‘I hope I am helping people have a better life, provide fresh fruit for their kids and saving fossil fuels by avoiding transporting food around the country,’ says Neil.
Neil has now set up The Crossing with it’s own rootstocks to run future grafting day fundraisers. Bring your grafting knives and grafting tape (if you have them please also bring named varieties of scion and rootstocks to share with others – keep them cool in plastic bags in your fridge once you cut them off your favourite varieties – about as long as your hand with about 6 or so buds on them). There will be rootstocks and scion to purchase and graft on the day and a few spare grafting knives. If you have never grafted before, then this is a chance to learn.
There is a booking fee of $25 for attendance to the workshop and people are asked to bring a plate of food to share with others. Tea and Coffee will be available. Apples, Pears and Plums will be the focus of the day. Each tree grafted onto a rootstock will cost $15. Individual scion to take home and graft onto your existing trees will be $5. The Heritage Fruit Growers data base will allow you to match vigours, so that more than one variety may be grafted onto a single rootstock (or existing tree) without unbalancing the tree. All funds raised go to The Crossing. Book in advance so you don’t miss out.
Upcoming Grafting Days (click the event to book):