Wassailing or Wasseling
|New orchard Alexandra recreation ground Berrylands|
Peri-urban habitats in the south of the borough are radically altered; but orchards can maintain a wonderful wildlife habitat. The longer grass between trees can be a haven for wildflowers and insects; surplus fruit is appreciated by winter Scandanavian thrushes (redwings and fieldfares). There are some excellent blogs on orchards and their wildlife.
See also http://www.abundancelondon.com/ with excellent posts from K. Leibreich on the situation in south-west London fruit growing stronghold in Chiswick and Isleworth.
https://www.theguardian.com/global/blog/2016/jan/11/community-belonging-values-discovery is an account of wassailing in an Oxfordshire village.
The tradition of wassailing (also wasselling) into two distinct categories: The house-visiting wassail and the orchard-visiting wassail. The house-visiting wassail is the practice of people going door-to-door, singing and offering a drink from the punch bowl (as at Pensford Fields). This practice has largely been displaced by carol singing. The orchard-visiting wassail refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards -usually in cider-producing regions reciting incantation and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year. Sometimes toast adorns the branches of orchard trees.Traditionally, the wassail is celebrated on twelth night ( either January 5 or 6). Some people still wassail on "Old Twelvey Night", January 17, as it would have been before the introduction of the Gregorian Calender in 1752.