Some of you may have seen our social media posts about an exciting new project coming to Berrylands … well, half way between Berrylands and New Malden, in Green Lane Park. Thanks to Alison Fure, a local field ecologist and all round lovely person, approval has been given along with funding by The Orchard Project for a new community orchard in our neighbourhood. What we, as a community, now need to do is mobilise a team of volunteers who are keen to be involved and commit to caring for the orchard.
On Tuesday evening a small group of interested parties met with Lewis from The Orchard Project and Alison at The Berrylands Pub to discuss the location of the project and to consider what should be planted. The exciting thing was that we could pretty much choose from any fruit tree/plant out there that would grow in the local environment. However, when you start looking into the options, we realised what a massive list of possibilities there was. And then as well as deciding what fruit, we had to consider what rootstock to choose!?
So after lots of useful tips from Lewis, learning about different types of rootstock and the vulnerability of some fruit types or particular varieties to pests or weather fluctuations, we slowly started finalising the planting list. We’ll share the final planting list soon. The other really interesting topic raised was the option of planting a more experimental fruit tree; something that might not be traditionally known to grow in the UK but that with recent climate changes might just be a UK fruit of the future!
We also discussed the risks to an orchard such as pests, the infamous ring-necked parakeets, anti-social behaviour & vandalism, and climate change (especially after this hot summer!). Also, we considered how best to engage the community, events we could organise for local residents, free training that was available for orchard volunteers and of course how we could ensure the orchard benefitted our local wildlife too.
All in all, it was another exciting meeting for a great project that will ideally result in us planting an orchard of 15 trees or plants in mid December 2018 or early January 2019. We’d love for more people to get involved, so if orchards or fruit trees are your thing or even if you just fancy learning more, drop us an email at berrylandsnr@gmail with a subject title of “Orchard Project”.
You can check out a video all about The Orchard Project below, although it’s a little out of date and they have expanded UK wide now. Oh, and what fruit would you want to grow in our new orchard?