We got well under way with planting during the Orchard Course with 16 trees in. By the end of March we hope to have finished "little orchard" and the permaculture area's forest orchard with a total of 46 trees.
Will, our tutor on the course, told us to plant the trees with good wishes/blessings/vibes/positive thoughts, as he's an advocate of the "spiritual bit" to planting. We have been getting children of friends and family to plant many of the trees, as it seems to help our hope for the future: that they will come back and eat their apples some day. A couple of them sang and danced around the trees naturally as they planted them. All of them gave their tree good wishes and love. What wisdom is theirs!
The purpose of Wassailing was to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. A wassail King and Queen lead a processional with songs played/sung in the orchard. Bread that had been soaked in Wassail cider from the Clayen Cup was given as a gift the tree spirits and to show them the fruits of what they created the previous year. Then the assembled crowd would sing and shout and bang drums and pots & pans and generally make a terrible racket to scare away evil spirits. One song was:
Here's to thee, old apple tree, That blooms well, bears well. Hats full, caps full, Three bushel bags full, An' all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah!