'Plant more fruit trees for the good of our planet'
MEMBERS of Horfield Organic Community Orchard (HOCO) are looking forward to welcoming visitors to celebrate Apple Day on Sunday 20 October. They’re also keen to encourage more people to grow more fruit in gardens and community spaces as an act of rebellion against extinction.
“We know we need to plant more trees for the good of people and the planet,” says Orchard Learning co-ordinator, Shannon Smith.
“Fruit trees in gardens and allotments are great for wildlife. They help clean the air and cool the environment. When well cared for they’re beautiful and fruitful.”
The orchard is home to 100 different fruiting trees. Visitors are invited to celebrate diversity and sample local and unusual varieties like ‘Gloucestershire Underleaf’ - an apple much loved for eating, cooking and cidering in its county of origin. Another favourite, ‘Court of Wick’, is from Somerset where it was said to have no rival for shape, colour and flavour.
“Our tasting table is one of the highlights of Apple Day,” adds Shannon. “Featuring fruits not seen in the shops, it's a chance to try before you buy a tree to grow yourself - and we have young trees for sale.”
HOCO has shown the way to a plastic-free future for many years. Fresh pressed apple juice and homemade cakes are served in recycled and 100% compostable cups and paper napkins that are composted on site. The huge task of lifting all the old carpets and geotextile laid down in the early years of the orchard was completed in the spring. The soil can breathe again. It’s also being re-wilded with artichoke, poppy, sunflower, teasel, clover, and more. Plastics are being replaced by mulch moats to reduce water stress and feed the soil food web.
Orchard members will be happy to answer your questions about pests, diseases, pruning and resilience in the face of climate chaos, and good-to-grow varieties of fruit trees.
Apple Day at Horfield Organic Community Orchard takes place on Sunday 20 October, 2 - 4pm. Entry is free. Donations of surplus apples for juicing are welcome.
To find the orchard (nearest postcode BS7 8JP): walk down the lane beside 22 Kings Drive (between Bishop Road & Kellaway Avenue), turn left and it’s the first gate on the right.
OR Take the lane beside 134 Longmead Avenue until you come to the last gate on the left.
For more information: www.community-orchard.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 373 1587.
• Photo courtesy of Jamie Carstairs