applesHave you met an Epimeliad yet?

Epimeliads are nymphs who specialise in the protection of apple trees. That makes apple trees rather special because all other fruit trees must share the more general-purpose Dryades, protecting all trees in general and oak trees in particular, Hamadryads, bonded with individual trees, or Leimakides, taking care of meadows.

Fully qualified nymphs like the Epimeliads are also available to the laurel (Daphnaeae), ivy (Kissiae) and ash (Meliae), but none is specifically allocated to plums, cherries, pears or any other variety that we grow along the orchard trail.

Perhaps some other culture is more open-minded about the wide spectrum of a diverse orchard?

Buy mythology is a living thing just like history forms as time progresses. Why should we be stuck with the narrow-mindedness of the ancient Greeks? Maybe we should simply nominate our own nymphs for plums (are there different ones for prunes, gages, plums and damsons?), pears, quinces and all the other varieties?

Nominations are welcome.


Reminder: AGM 2018

Format-NoticeIt’s almost time for our

Annual General Meeting 2018

Tuesday 6th November 2018, 19:30
72, St Margaret’s Road, Hanwell W7 2HF (map)

Please come along to the AGM. It’s your chance to help steer the project. You can join the committee or simply share your thoughts and suggestions and enjoy the free nibbles and drinks.

However, we need a quorum to continue to function as an organisation, so please join us if you can.

You can view and download the formal notice here, and the complete notice there.

Please let us know that you plan on coming. Remember, nibbles and drinks!


_mg_8883I enjoyed our little conversation about local place names in the history department a few weeks ago. The question of St Margaret produced a detailed response while Billets Hart remains a challenge for some while.

So how about Elthorne?

Is it the old common name for prunus spinosa, now commonly known as Blackthorn? Is it in reference to John Elthorne the Elder, local parish priest 1683 – 1692, or the old measure for the amount of clay needed to make one dozen stone bricks?

Fictionary Dictionary is great fun, but no.

Elthorne is a subdivision of the historic county of Middlesex. The Elthorne Hundred roughly corresponds to today’s Borough of Hillingdon and the western half of London Borough of Ealing. That’s quite a stretch of land for a hundred. A hundred?

I also learned that a hundred is an old administrative subdivision of a region, with an “exceedingly obscure” etymology according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

I like the exceedingly obscure.


Annual General Meeting

It’s that time of the year again, the time for our genuinely important and not quite so terribly serious

Annual General Meeting 2018

I find it fascinating to note that this is our fourth AGM. None of the founding members expected the project to fail quickly, but I suppose we all share some pride in the fact that we made it so far, and the project still is very much alive and ticking.

Please come along to the AGM. Cast your vote, share some nibbles, thoughts and suggestions, catch up with the latest plans, craziest ideas and help us continue to function as an organisation.

You can view and download the formal notice here, and the complete notice there.

Autumn Orchard Picnic

rainy-picnicWhy not come along and join our casual

Autumn Orchard Picnic

Tomorrow, Sunday October 14th, in Jubilee Meadow (by the sheep) a private residence due to foul weather from 13:00

See our schedule page for location details.

The weather is going to be just fine this time! (Oh no it won’t!)

It’s the perfect opportunity to see the beautiful Hanwell Meadows, catch up with the latest orchard news and plans and join or meet our group of orchard and picnic enthusiasts.

Bring a friend, a child, a dog, a spouse and a smile. Bring food and drink to the sharing table if you like to, but please be prepared to take back leftovers and bring no more than your own party would consume. We’d love to keep  food and plastic waste to a minimum.

We’re Thriving!

london-in-bloom-2018-lowresOur multi-award winning orchard trail has done it again: London in Bloom awarded us level 4 of 5, thriving for the Piggeries Orchard!

We are collecting the awards like, like, … like lots, and we like them lots. Like, it’s really nice to get that recognition, so thank you to London in Bloom, thank you to all the volunteers to help, and of course our huge thank you to the park rangers who support us all the way with guidance, hands-on help and inspiration.

We’re thriving on it.

All Good Things…

DSC_0036All good things must come to an end!

We say Good Bye to our weekly Tree Tending Tuesday until next spring due to the early darkness and end of the growing season. We extend our heartfelt thanks, many thanks, to everyone who came to help with varied tasks throughout the year.

We registered over 500 volunteer working hours this year so far, that’s not a bad record.

The fun isn’t over though. There are the occasional Saturday activities, and of course seasonal celebrations later in the year. Watch this space or check out the volunteer schedule.

Scything Course

IMG_20180915_161821For those who took part, as a memory. For those who didn’t, as a reminder on what they missed: here are some photos and a timelapse video from last week’s scything course.

10 participants enjoyed relaxed expert tuition under scything instructor Clive Leeke. Once background knowledge was established and everyone was fitted with tools, we moved on to  cut approximately half an acre of mixed-vegetation meadow in St Margaret’s Open Space.

Even Ealing Council officials were impressed!

Our thanks to the Fox for use of their premises for the opening and closing parts, and our thanks to Ealing Council and contractors for their support in this effort.



IMG_20180904_190059Just in case you didn’t know: Nature is amazing!

Its been one month to the day when a small grass fire burnt some of Blackberry Corner in the Hanwell Meadows.

First came the fire. Next came the local volunteers with water buckets, followed by the fire brigade, followed by more bucket-carrying volunteers.

Next came flocks of pigeons, which were enjoying seeds or insects among the burnt grass.

Look at it now. It’s been only four weeks and you can barely see where it was! The meadow is already lush with regrown grass again, only those parts with poor soil still expose some of the burnt surface. One of the burnt trees shows signs of life. Truly amazing.