The Apple Orchard

_mg_8113I discovered Muriel Stuart’s lovely poem when researching last week’s article, but I also found and bought a book by Pete Brown: The Apple Orchard: The Story of Our Most English Fruit.

I am only about half way through the 326 pages at the time of this writing so there is no risk of me spoiling the fun by giving away the end, but I thought I’d share this discovery in this time of desperate need of ideas for presents.

I find it delightful, insightful well-written and entertaining, and I love that I am unable to put a label on it. It is neither fictional nor is it factual; it is a collection of anecdotes and thoughts, musings and ramblings, all related to orchards and apples in some way, some more directly than others. I won’t be surprised if I find Muriel’s poem in the remaining half.

Just remember: I have one already 😉

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The Seed Detective Returns

sunflower-in-vaseAdam “Seed Detective” Alexander returns with a talk about saving seed from your own garden or allotment plants. Our friends from the Billet Hart Allotment Association have kindly extended their invitation to members of the Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail once again.

Some of us have seen Adam in action in his previous lecture and thoroughly enjoyed an informative and inspiring evening.

Friday 29th September 2017, 19:00 (doors), 19:30 (talk starts). The talk will take approximately one hour, followed by questions and answers.

A glass of wine or soft drink is included in the £10 fee.

See their flyer for detail and booking.

City Next Week

_mg_8669Have you always wanted to know how the Orchard trail started?

Are you interested in what we do week after week, month after month and year after year to maintain the orchards along the canal?

Do you want to know what other projects are featured in the museum of London exhibition?

Come to our lunchtime session in the London Museum! Full detail at http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/event-detail?id=122408

… and maybe have a walk around the City Now City Future exhibition afterwards to  explore how others shape the city: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/citynowcityfuture

 

Statistically Speaking

DSC_0611Statistically speaking, the average orchardist is a poor keeper of statistics. We plan on improving our habits, but I am sure someone can tell me how long this resolve typically lasts, statistically speaking.

In the absence of hard numbers, I estimated the time spent working in and around the orchard trail to be approximately 300 volunteer hours in 2017 so far. And we are only half way into the year!

My estimation is based on past dates in the diary, recollection and website articles about some events, group photos taken at the larger events. It does not include the social hours at a certain inn, our popular meadow picnics, training classes, ward forum meetings or committee meetings.

We’ll be turning three in October, and I reckon we might be looking back at something between 1500 and 2000 person hours spend clearing, cleaning, watering, pruning and rubbish collecting over that time. A big, big, thank you!

Here are some pictures of people at work in the orchards to bring back memories and inspire new volunteers.

 

Who We Are, What We Do

The best way to find out who we are and what we do is to head down to The Piggeries Orchard right now. Today, Saturday 8-May-2017,  we’ll be mulching, clearing and sowing, and celebrate the event with a speech, a cheer and a slice of cake!

Our resident videographer Steve Haskett has produced a new short clip about our group and our work. Take a look if you need some extra motivation, if you can’t join us today or if you are reading this at a later date.

Thank you, Steve!

Awesome Award Winning Apple Orchard

DSC_0929We are delighted to report that the Blackberry Corner Apple Orchard, part of the Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail, received a Level Three (“Advancing”) award from London in Bloom 2016!

We entered in the non-competitive It’s Your Neighbourhood category and were placed at level three (of five). Recalling how we uncovered the site from brambles, nettles and many self-seeded trees and shrubs only two years ago, and recalling how volunteers helped and continue to help planting, watering, pruning and weeding makes this award a big deal for us, because it means a

BIG THANK YOU TO ALL VOLUNTEERS!

We expect that the trend will continue. The Blackberry Corner Apple Orchard will continue to thrive and will blow the roof off the judges scale next year! To be followed by the Osterley Lock Keeper’s Garden Orchard and The Piggeries for sure.

 

Who Do You Think I Am?

aptyeI know you have been walking around your garden and favourite orchards, looking with pride and fascination at the emerging fruit. It is set and swelling nicely, watered beautifully by mother nature and desperately looking for more sugar-making sunshine, and I can hear you wonder which variety is this apple? 

Here at the Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail, we begun adding new labels to our fruit trees, stating variety, a very brief description (where available) and the year of planting. You’ll see those labels emerge over the next few weeks, and possibly change as we experiment with methods and materials for durable, inexpensive and eco-friendly labelling.

However, as some members point out, you can also help yourself with this fabulous self-help fruit identification web site for apples and pears: http://www.fruitid.com. Check it out!

We think it is a jolly good site and hope to put it to the test some day later this summer by helping label the unknown varieties of Blondin Park Community Orchard. Please get in touch if you are knowledgeable in tree and pear varieties, or if you are otherwise interested in identifying fruit varieties.

An Inspiring Day Out

DSC_0289It isn’t a publicly accessible community orchard, but the house, extensive gardens and, most of all, the walled garden of Hughenden Manor are an inspiration to orchard and garden lovers alike, and make for a great day within easy reach from West London (at least if you have a motorised vehicle).

Hughenden Manor, a National Trust Property, is just outside of High Wycombe along the M40 corridor. The former country home of Victorian statesman Benjamin Disraeli is in the middle of Red Kite country with an interesting house and extensive gardens, park and woodlands. There’s a picnic orchard with apples and pears, a lumberjack’s playground which would please certain park rangers local to us, and a walled garden with herbs, vegetables, greens and more apples, pears, figs, mulberries, apricots, cherries, gooseberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants, and just about everything else, very nicely maintained by a group of volunteers in collaboration with the National Trust.