I was very happy to be present at the planting of Swallowfield Parish Council’s community orchard last weekend.
The parish council put on a very friendly and social welcoming event for their planting, which took place in a green space owned by the Wellington Estate, just next to Riseley Memorial Hall. They provided delicious cake and biscuits before kindly letting me plant one of their apple trees, (a “Gilliflower” on an M26 rootstock, in case you were wondering). There were around 20 adults and a handful of kids involved in the actual planting and I was surprised to surprised to see how quickly the 40 trees were in the ground and wrapped in tree protectors. The actual planting probably took about 10 minutes and was followed by a lot of socialising, accompanied by sausages and cider. If any local Transition initiatives want to learn about “celebrating” their achievements, I think we could learn a thing or two from Swallowfield.
It was great to see that local people can make this kind of project happen, and to see the practical results of the kind of organisation and planning that we’re putting into the Palmer Park Orchard project at the moment.
Swallowfield’s trees were funded by lottery money which was secured by the Community Council for Berkshire, and the planning and planting were organised by local resident and enthusiast Peter Sampson, a man who could talk almost anyone into almost anything.
CCB are also funding community orchards in Wargrave and Twyford, as well as another 100 fruit trees which were planted in Dinton Pastures country park this week…
Progress is continuing on the Palmer Park Orchard project as we hopefully move towards the end of the site-planning phase. Following a (sorry) fruitful planning meeting last week, where we were joined by the Chair of Reading Tree Warden Network, Hoyte Swager, I submitted a broad layout of the planting sections to the Reading Borough Council Parks dept this week. We’re awaiting approval on that before going ahead and planning out the site tree by tree.
In the mean time, we’re continuing to reach out to local community groups and local residents and building up a list of contacts and “friends of the project” to help us with the public consultation, fund-raising, planting and maintenance, as we’ve continued to receive lots of positive support.
If you’re not already on the mailing list for the project and you’d like to join, please send a mail to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to see an orchard planting in progress, the Twyford Orchard planting is going ahead on Saturday the 26th November. People interested in checking it out should meet in the Stanlake Pavillion car park (Stanlake Lane, Twyford) between 10:30 and 10:45 am.
Hopefully, we’ll be seeing something similar in Palmer Park in the not too distant future!