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First tottering steps

Do you want to set up a community orchard? Have you established one already? Do you help to look after one? Tell us about it here!

First tottering steps

Postby Watlington Orchard » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:11 pm

I have big ideas but it's a very slow process. I am chair of the local 'In Bloom' group and have concentrated on ecological and environmental approaches rather than the conventional bedding and baskets. An important part of the 'In Bloom' campaign is community involvement and an important part of sustainability is growing and buying local. I have been aiming towards forming a community orchard or to be more precise a community Forest Garden (permaculture - where under the trees other food is grown at all the different levels) and with this in mind have garnered the support of a well known chef who's a passionate champion of growing your own food. He has offered us some local heritage variety fruit trees when we have a site. In addition to my 'In Bloom' activities I run a National Trust Volunteer Group for a single site on which it has recently become apparent that there is an old abandoned orchard! Obviously, for me, this is exciting news, if a bit daunting. I want to do the right thing by the community and for the environment and would like to keep some 'ownership' and see my ideas adopted but I don't want to scare off the NT.

Any advice?
Watlington Orchard
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Re: First tottering steps

Postby MSOG » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:04 pm

Hi Watlington Orchard

Welcome to the MSOG on-line forum! Your new ventures, with the Community Orchard and the abandoned orchard, sound great - well done! It would be good to hear more about them. What local varieties have you been offered? MSOG has access to many varieties from Oxfordshire and may also be able to assist.

MSOG itself was established in partnership with the National Trust at Stowe Gardens, several years ago. MSOG members have helped the NT there rejuvenate the orchards at Stowe and planted the 18th century orchard at the New Inn, which opened last year. We and the NT put on joint events these such as Apple Day and Wassailing and have found the relationship to be a good one.

We work closely with the Head Gardener at Stowe, so you might like to have a chat with the one who has responsibility for your NT site and see what he or she thinks of the idea of rescuing the old orchard and what might be possible to achieve. The initiative might well fit in with local marketing themes and be something that the NT could market to attract more visitors - always good!

If you'd like to drop me a PM with your contact details, I'll be pleased to put you in touch with individuals at MSOG who should be able to assist you further.

Many thanks!

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