Wait…. Is it Autumn already?

We can’t believe it’s the end of Summer already. Sorry for keeping a little quiet over the last months. We have been so busy,…. just couldn’t find time to post about the jobs we did.

Greening together The Ealing rangers have been invaluable in supporting us with advise on creating and maintaining our orchards. It is great to see that this is recognised by the Council. A big thank you to ‘Around Ealing’ for using one of our flagship orchards ‘The Piggeries’ in a lovely article on greening together. The video, accompanying the article, can be watched here !

Pictures below show 1) Aerial view Piggeries site 1951 2) Piggeries map 1960 with current situation combined 3) Winter 2016/2017 4) Summer 2022

Summer Cut Over the summer months, we give all our orchards a summer cut. Most years we had to do quite a bit of weeding before it was time to cut all the grass, but this years drought stopped the weeds from getting in the way too much. So during our work-evenings we cleared around trees, watered our younger trees and did some litter picking when necessary. In August, when most wildflowers had set seed -or when the fire-risk became too high-, we cut the whole meadow in one go and removed the cuttings. This practice, which is common in wildflower meadow management, enhances bio diversity by creating a habitat less favourable for grasses, brambles and nettles. To connect more with other local nature conservation groups, we helped cutting Perivale Wood wildflower meadow and the cuttings were feed for the cows on Horsenden Farm.

Dates for the diary

Saturday work morning: 10th September 10:30 at the allotment next to The Piggeries. We’ll split the group, depending on numbers. If you want to get familiar with our most Western part of the trail (30 min walk from the allotment) this is your chance.

Monday work evening:12th September 6:30 at the allotment next to The Piggeries. -Tasks to be announced-.

Upcoming Saturday work mornings 8th October and 12th November

Not all pictures were made by Hangot.

More Ways to Come Play With Us

We have been advised that our brand new and shiny Piggeries banner has become a pokestop, a landmark worth visiting by those who play Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go or not, the new sign is definitely worth a visit and a great excuse for taking a walk!

We installed the new banner last week and think it looks fantastic. Many thanks to our designer in residence, Leo!

Harvesting Season

It’s harvesting season! Hay harvesting season, that is.

While plums, prunes and gates are busy putting on the finishing touches and apples and pears have another couple of weeks of ripening to do, the meadow grass is ready for the hay harvest.

Please join us if you can on

Saturday August 10th from 11 o’clock at The Piggeries

We’ll be scything the piggeries, rake, gather and remove the cuttings for local composting. There’s plenty to do for people of all strength, fitness and general ability.

We’ll start at 11 o’clock and will finish in the early afternoon, just in time for refreshments at a nearby public house. All you need bring is yourself, but please make sure to wear sturdy shoes and long trousers. A long sleeved top or strong insect repellent is recommended and a pair of gardening gloves will protect your delicate hands and future career as a concert pianist.

Update 10-Aug:

All done. The Piggeries were cut in 3 hours flat, raked and collected into an astonishing mounting of biomass. Also note the fascinating wasp spider which we found, although some of the men in our party look at it only with suspicion…

Yellow Rattle Inventory

DSC03603_1Last year we harvested Yellow Rattle seeds from the meadow in St Margaret’s Open Space and then sowed them in the Piggeries knowing that their parasitic habit would retard the growth of course grasses and help other smaller wildflowers to flourish.

We went to see if any Yellow Rattle seedlings are coming up – half expecting not to find any – but there are lots!

We now just have to let them flower and set seed and they should hopefully self-propagate across the site. If so this would be splendid!

We’ll delay the spring meadow cut until late summer to allow the Yellow Rattle to establish, although it’s possible that we need to cut excessive grass growth with a scythe in the coming months.

Next time you’re there, take a look!

There are lots around the nearest fruit tree to the wood chip pile.

Mulching Report

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to help mulching trees and hedges at the Piggeries and St Margaret’s orchards last week.

What a fantastic way to start the new year!

Our next outing will be on Saturday February 9th to plant some trees to fill in for some losses during last year’s drought, please mark the date.

Chipping News

DSC_0962Three hours, six volunteers, two rangers, one noisy bastard of a chipping machine, and one huge pile of dead wood and brambles dating all the way back to the initial clearing at The Piggeries Orchard produced a larger than anticipated pile of premium quality artisan woodchip for mulching within the same orchard. Self-sustained an all.

A Saturday well spent.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped to get this done as swiftly as possible, and our thanks to neighbours who didn’t quite have their usual peaceful Saturday morning on this occasion.


Fun At The Piggeries


What’s going on at the Piggeries Orchard today, I hear you ask. I am glad you asked.

The park rangers will bring their wood chipper on site and help us to chip the pile of tree branches into our very own artisan woodchip used for local self-sustained mulching.

Join us from 10:30 today, Saturday 14-July-2018, at the Piggeries Orchard and help getting this done in the shortest time possible. There’ll be opportunities to feed branches into the chipper, to deploy the woodchip along the hedges and around the trees on site. For those who favour lighter duties, there’s no shortage of nettles, brambles or horsetail to pull, snip, squish and bash. We hope to retire to the Fox for refreshments in the early afternoon.

Long trousers and sturdy shoes are highly recommended. Please bring ear defenders, safety glasses and thick gloves if you have them.

Open, Opener, Openest

IMG_20180626_182540At the risk of repeating myself: The Piggeries Orchard is now officially open!

We sort-of opened it when planting the fruit trees on February 10th, 2018.

Richard “Scissors” H cut the ribbon and really officially opened it on June 2nd, 2018: Time to Celebrate.

I do now declare it truly and officially and complete opened, as open as can be, and I promise it shall not be any more open: the noticeboard is in!

The noticeboard was the last remaining item from our list of deliverables. The sign, albeit not the one made from locally grown oak envisioned, was installed this past week. The installation was complete just in time before the London in Bloom inspection. Such is the way of miracles and wonders!

From the bottom of our watering buckets, wheelbarrows, wellies and from the bottom of our hearts: Thank you so much for supporting this project! It has been the most delightful journey so far.

We appreciate loads of positive feedback whenever we work within the Piggeries Orchard. Many people stop by and share their appreciation. Thank you! It keeps is going. It really does, and it will keep us going well beyond this official completion of the projects. Plans are flying high and wild. Always.





Spring Clean Finals

IMG_20180527_101322Please join us tomorrow

Saturday 9-June, 11:00 at The Piggeries Orchard (map)

to finish the spring clean in time for the London in Bloom

There’ll be something to do for everyone. You can dig or snip bramble roots, pull horsetail, cut bindweed, collect rubble, rake grass. Or just come along to take a look, have a chat, or join us for a drink at the end.

Please dress appropriately; long trousers, closed shoes and gloves are highly recommended due to the mixed vegetation and uneven ground.

We expect to be done within two hours, and we are counting on you to do it!

Time To Celebrate

piggeries-openingIt’s time to celebrate the Piggeries Orchard official opening!

Please come join our opening party and casual bring-your-own spring picnic

Saturday June 2nd from 12:00

The Piggeries Orchard (map)

Dignitaries have been invited, fine weather has been requested, the speech is prepared. All that is missing is you!

Bring a friend, bring a smile, bring yourself. Bring some food or drink to the sharing table if you like, but please bring no more than your party would consume and be prepared to take packaging and leftovers back so that we can keep waste to a minimum.

The Piggeries Orchard is wheelchair accessible from Studley Grange Road.

Please be aware of the proximity to the Grand Union Canal when you bring young children, dogs or ducks.