Orchard In Isolation

Featured

With huge regret and for the now well-known reasons, this is to confirm that all volunteer activities and gatherings with Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail are cancelled until further notice. Maintaining proper hygiene, distancing and other precautions is generally impossible while “out and about,” and we would violate the “no gatherings” rule.

We are happy to help coordinate individuals or people from the same household who wish to perform their daily exercise in orchard maintenance. For example, you could exercise with our popular self-guided walk and get in touch if you discover any issues that might need addressing. You could also seek a more vigorous exercise as we still hope to deal with bramble, nettle and hemlock growth and other essential orchard maintenance tasks over the coming weeks.

Get in touch through our volunteer email system if you are able and interested to help, but remember that you must observe official COVID-19 guidance and rules at all times. Most of all, you must stay safe and healthy!

We also recommend that you check out Ealing’s volunteer coordinating site if you are looking for more opportunities to help locally at https://ealingtogether.org/.

Bring Me a Little Water

Orchard maintenance has continued thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers and activities performed by individuals or thouse who live together in the same household. Spring meadow cut, general clearance, weeding, weeding and more weeding, mulching and watering was carried out, all in all adding up to more than 60 hours since March 23rd, 2020.

That’s pretty cool!

We continue to monitor the public advise on lock-down rules and will call for more volunteer participation as soon as the law, health & safety and common sense permit.

Here’s how you can help right away:

Water a young and desperate tree next to you.

Make it part of your fitness regime to carry water to a newly planted tree next to you even to one a little further away foir extra fitness.

Ealing Council brought many new trees into the area, but the current situation leaves some trees desperate for water. While most of the HANGOT trees are doing fine, many trees recently planted in public spaces are desperate. Newly planted trees do not yet have the deep and far-reaching root system of a well-established tree and need a little help.

Even a small amount would be better than none in this dry season!

Abundance London calls for an emergency tree adoption scheme, Trees for Cities asks that you become a Tree Watering Champion. There are no prices to win except for a local environment rich in trees with healthy habitats for diverse fauna and flora. What’s not to like?

The Wee People

Many believe that nature is reclaiming the land in these strange times, quiet yet stressful all the same.

Swans were sighted in the canals of Venice, Dolphins near the port of Cagliari, Sardinia. Mountain goats in Llandudno, Wales, Mountain lions in Bolder, Colarado, Wild boars were sighted in Barcelona, Spain, and gangs of macaque monkeys overrun Lopburi, Thailand.

Did you know that the wee people have returned to Hanwell?

You just need to observe the proper distance to other people, look really careful and be quite quiet!

Have you found them yet?

Happy Easter

We wish you a very Happy Easter and, most importantly in this crazy spring, we wish you a very Healthy Easter.

May you stay safe and sane or, if the bug has gotten to you yet, may you recover soon and fully! Our heartfelt best wishes are with everyone, anywhere.

May you find time and sufficient isolation to walk along the Orchard Trail as part of your daily exercise regime! The trees are in full bloom and everything is lush and vibrant with fresh greens; it is nature at its best.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane.

Progress Report

This is an excellent time to rummage around the cupboard, get the old shoebox of photos and contemplate just how far Osterley Lock Orchard has come in just five years, but with the help of many, many, volunteer hours.

Our work hour statistics don’t reach all the way back to the beginnings, but an estimated 500 volunteer hours were spend at Osterley Lock Orchard since the start, not counting planning, preparation or taking of post-activity refreshments.

Everything begun with a site inspection June 13th, 2015. The site was completely overgrown except for a small picnic spot covered in litter, broken picnic table and remains of BBQ fires.

A joint effort of Canal and Rivers Trust volunteers and the park rangers provided the initial clearing October 15th, 2015.

We planted the front orchard January 30th, 2016.

Clearing of the back part begun December 17th, 2016, on a rather damp day, alongside the planting of 1000 native flower bulbs. Site care and maintenance has been an ongoing effort ever since. (Event invitation, more photos)

February 4th, 2017, brought the addition of 17 fruit trees to the rear of the orchard (event invitation, more photos), quickly followed by the installation of bird and bat boxes.

Osterley Lock Orchard now has 29 fruit trees, second only to Blackberry Corner Orchard with a collection of 44 fruit trees across the field. We give it ongoing care and maintenance with many Tuesday evenings and quite a few Saturday activities to help establish and maintain a clean, healthy and bio-diverse habitat and orchard.

Many small events followed, trying to keep Nettles and Burdock at bay, look after the fruit trees and keep the paths across the site clear and usable.

The most recent event at this time of writing was the spring clean at March 14th, 2020. A super volunteer turnout, assisted by the park rangers and their big boy toys. We coppiced and cleared to bring more light, airflow and clear lines of sight to improve the orchard site for plants, wildlife and humans alike.

(See the event invitation, report with photos).

Our heartfelt and warm Thank you! to everyone who helped with this project so far. We look forward to continued events in this and other parts of the orchard trail once the current exceptional conditions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic are a thing of the past.

Orchard Lock Orchard Management

Thank you all for lending us a hand with last week’s Osterley Lock Orchard spring clean! We were very happy to see an excellent turnout of volunteer, even including assistance spontaneously given after learning about the project. Between many hands and with the help of the park rangers, we accomplished quite a lot in little time:

We coppiced overgrown hawthorn trees (remnants of a former hedge) to bring light and a clear lines-of -sight to the orchard.

We recyled the branches to make enough woodchip to mulch the fruit trees, and stacked the rest into a ‘dead hedge’ to create nesting habitat for hedgehogs, small mammals and birds.

Thanks to great teamwork from local volunteers backed up with some ranger technical support we’ve significantly improved the orchard for fruit trees, visitors and wildlife in one go.

Going Nuts!

Our friends at Trees for Cities will be planting 40 new nut trees in Elthorne Waterside just beyond our existing Elthorne Triangles orchard on Saturday April 4th, 2020.

We think it a wonderful idea although we shared our concern about the abundant population of nettles and hemlock on the planting site. Trees for Cities is busy working out a plan for ongoing maintenance to stay on top of those and give the new Hazels, Pecan, Sweet Chestnut, Walnut and Beeches a chance.

They will have some machinery assistance to dig the holes as the site is notorious for difficult digging. Also, they plan to plant fairly mature trees to boost their survival chances.

But first things first: the planting!

Please join them if you can on Saturday April 4th, 2020. For details please see https://www.treesforcities.org/elthornepark

Free Anger Management

Come and join us next

Saturday March 14th, 2020 at
Osterley Lock Orchard from 11 o’clock

for a thorough spring clean. The park rangers will come help with their big toys: there’ll be chopping, pruning and coppicing. There’ll be chipping to be done and those premium artisan woodchips will want distributing on site.

There’s some general TL&C work for those seeking lighter duties, and we have a supply of bramble and nettle roots to pull for those seeking to release all that stored-up anger.

Come join us! It’ll be fun!

We start at 11 o’clock and hope to be done around 2 in the afternoon, seeking refreshments in the Fox thereafter.

Please be sure to dress appropriately: your second-best pair of trousers and last season’s coat will be good enough. Sturdy shoes are very highly recommended due to the uneven ground. Remember the ground will still be soaked and just a little bit muddy. Also bring some gardening gloves to protect your delicate digits.

We’ll have all the big tools, but a pair of secateurs or a handsaw always come handy.

See you on Saturday March 14th at Osterley Lock!

Flower Season

The flower season has officially started. While the Crocuses and Daffodils take a head start, the Apricots are not far behind.

Cherries, quinces, pears and apples are all thickening, some bursting into life. A new year, a new cycle.

Let’s hope that another cold spell won’t spoil the game this year!

The First Cut

The first cut is the deepest (baby I know). We hope that it will also be effective. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to help make light work of the Blackberry Corner Orchard winter pruning. We have now also cut the emerging Hemlock to give room for Cowslip, Deadnettle, thistle and plain grass.

Thank you all!