Saturday, 6 November 2010


Hidden in the corner of our new garden is an orchard. It is on the southern side of a row of tall limes.

The orchard is 50mx25m and contains fruit trees planted in the 1960's that are submerged by briars. It is edged by an ugly and spindly hedge of privet (ligustrum japonica). Fruit trees discovered so far are apples and (I think) cherries.

Orchards can be great for wildlife - especially if, like woodland, they contain trees of different ages. They provide shelter and food for a range of wildlife. We were listening to the plaintive call of the bullfinch as we worked on another corner of the site on Saturday and know that bullfinches (of all birds) appreciate an orchard - especially in the spring when they strip the flower buds from apple trees!

Somehow we must remove the tangle of briars above and below ground and take out the infestation of undergrowth that has established itself towards the Lamin's Lane boundary.

When these problems are overcome, we can consider the apple varieties we want to plant and the other fruits that will call our orchard home.

I would love to plant cider apples and 'heritage' apple varieties that have a connection with our great county.

Beyond that we must think how we will manage the orchard.

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