January 31st

Heritage Trees: Orchards


A project to encourage community gardens to plant orchards has begun with The Conservation Foundation providing orchards to gardens in Cornwall and South London.

An orchard project for prisons, created by the Foundation, proved so successful that the prison authorities took on the management and funding to enable more prison orchards to be established.  Funding the Foundation had raised was therefore diverted to support the Foundation’s Heritage Trees initiative supporting orchards outside the prison estate to provide fruit trees for community gardens.

The first gardens to receive orchards are the Living Churchyard at St Mawgan in Meneage near Truro and Mottingham Community Garden and St Edwards Peace Garden in New Eltham.

The gardens are receiving orchard packs containing Apples, Pear, Plum and Cherry trees and are supplied with stakes and buckle ties.

It is estimated that half the country’s orchards have been lost since 1900 with the biggest loss recorded since 1970 meaning that as well as the loss of fruit the biodiversity of the pollinators has also seen a huge reduction.  Small orchards planted in community gardens can help to encourage local biodiversity as well as creating year-round interest for young and old alike.