Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 27th July 2012, Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thirteen volunteers tackled a variety of tasks today, some general management and some remedial work.

We continued to construct the new compost bins, but we still have some way to go; we will continue as and when we have timber. We completed the summer pruning, done to restrict size and control the shape of the espaliers and cordons and also made a start at restricting the size of some trees which are growing into each other. 

As well as some grass cutting and general weeding, we had to fell the elder near the benches as the main bow had broken a couple of weeks ago, collapsing onto the veg beds. This clearance work will give the hedge underneath a chance to thrive. We also fitted a new door on the shed; for a moment or two we were doubtful we could do then it suddenly slipped into to the frame and was secured. 


Fri 4th May 2012: BLOSSOM DAY 2012, BPCO, Allotments, Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4.

Today was the day to enjoy the tree blossom in the Orchard.  It is a picture to see fruit blossom in full bloom. And today although it has been better we were treated to a good display. Unfortunately the cold weather made us less appreciative. Nevertheless, two groups from Bradford College, two from Bowling Park Primary, a group from a community orchard near Settle and the BEES volunteers enjoyed the day’s activities.
The college groups prepared and sowed seeds in two of the growing beds. Then they joined in an art activity, which was to make picture inspired by the day which will be made into an outdoor collage. The school groups carried out a minibeast hunt, pond dipping and planting seedlings in the vegetable bed. The group from Settle enjoyed the site. Meanwhile the BEES volunteers, started constructing new compost bins, summer pruned, weeded areas and mowed the grass. All of which improve the site. Being an open day there was plenty of homemade cake for the visitors.
Today we worked with 15 volunteers.
Click here to see other photos of the day.




THURSDAY 23rd Feb 2012: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments at Bowling Park Drive.

Today we collected the growing beds from Trinity Road. These are made of railway sleepers so proved very heavy. But we were able to separate them and load in the van. We then took them to the Orchard, where they were reconstructed to make growing beds. Also we were able to complete the pruning of the fruit trees.

Today we worked with 4 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Sunday 9th Oct 2011: APPLE DAY Bowling Park Community Orchard in allotments Bowling Park Drive, BD5

Many people braved the rain to enjoy Apple DayMany people braved the rain to enjoy Apple DayApple Day 2011 was another successful event. Despite the inclement weather - rain most of the afternoon with gusts of strong wind that were a challenge for the gazebos - the event was busy with initial estimates of around 400 visitors.

Horticultural questions ranged from 'how do I plant my apple tree?', 'Can you help me choose which to buy - an Egremont Russet or a Blenheim Orange?' (BO chosen as it will give a longer harvesting season when taking into account the other trees on the plot), to 'I've moved into a house and cut down an old apple tree, is this alright?' (I'm not sure what answer was given!). Martin was also able to help us with a few issues we have in the orchard, from a badly diseased Fiesta (and Lane's Prince Albert) to overcrowded trees that need restrictive pruning. The guidance Martin has provided will be added to the management plan for the orchard for the forthcoming year.

A banner for the orchard was made as part of the art activities, along with badges and purses using old bottle tops, apple wood and juice cartons. The more foolhardy had a go at apple bobbing, as if they weren't wet enough already. The longest peel produced an extraordinary result - 3.8m (I think). Whilst the apple used was admittedly large it was the technique that impressed - a knife was used to score the apple before peeling. The 'peeler' was from Oregon, USA. We are obviously being taught the wrong things in school.

Plenty of cakes, salads and hot savoury meals were consumed and diners were entertained by local band The 309's. Fresh juice was pressed from apples donated by Bradford Fruitshare, and about 20 varieties of apple were on sale. Unfortunately Yorkshire Orchards suffered frost this year so had no apples, however we purchased fruit from Park Fruit Farm in Essex who have consistently high quality fruit which is produced in an wildlife friendly orchard.

Many thanks to the volunteers who helped on the day - without whom we could not run the event - and who worked hard in advance to make chutney, jam and food for the cafe.

 See more photos here

Friday 7th Oct 2011: Bowling Park Community Orchard

Picking the apples with our new long handled picker and harvesting bag Picking the apples with our new long handled picker and harvesting bag Today BEES volunteers were joined by a group from Santander Bank to undertake a variety of tasks ensuring autumn management tasks were completed and the site was prepared for visitors to Apple Day on Sunday.

We follow organic guidelines for top fruit cultivation so throughout the summer we leave the majority of the grass long to ensure there is adequate habitat for the invertebrate predators that control the aphids and other pests. At this time of the year the grass undergoes an autumn cut and the arisings are raked and added to the compost. We aim to leave about 10% of the undergrowth as a winter refuge for the invertebrates.

The trees were given a bit of food to boost the fruit bud development. Calcified seaweed, fine charcoal (which aids uptake of nutrients from the soil) and a mulch from the bottom of the compost bins was spread around the trees. More work was done to organise the compost bins. Pathways, flower beds and veg beds were weeded and the hedges were cut.

We harvested and weighed more of the apples, only a few are left on the trees now and these will be picked next week.

See more photos here

Friday 26th Aug 2011: Bowling Park Community Orchard, allotments off Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

A group of 11 volunteers visited the orchard today to continue with the site management tasks. First the group were introduced to the orchard and people new to the project were given a tour round. A good number of the trees were found to of produced an abundance of fruit and the first job was to collect the fallers and pick any that were ready. We soon found that the apples will require a little longer to fully ripen. Others jobs included weeding the vegetable growing beds, mowing some areas of grass, clearing around the compost bins and weeding the paths. Although we had to run for shelter due to the rain by the end of the day the site was looking in good shape as we prepare for the harvest which should produce a good crop this year.

Click here to see other pictures of the day.

Friday 6th May 2011, BLOSSOM DAY, BPCO, Allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

Blossom on espalier treeBlossom on espalier treeToday we held our annual open day at the Orchard to celebrate the spectacle of the tree blossom. Unfortunately due to the weather conditions most of the blossom had finished. However we were able to enjoy the occassion and carried out several management tasks including cutting the grass and cleaning the shed. A school group planted seeds, carried out a craft activitiy and looked for minbeasts. A college group toured the orchard and planted vegetables while several other visitors enjoyed the site. With so many people on site it made a good atmosphere and they showed enthusiam for the project and celebrating local food growing.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Today we worked with 14 volunteers.

Friday 14th January: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling, BD4

Friday 14th January 2011: Completed section of hedgeFriday 14th January 2011
Completed section of hedge
Today was the first visit of the year to the Orchard site. We had two tasks today.

One group carried out the pruning of the fruit trees and gave the trees some extra food. This is an important job to be carried out in the winter and will benefit the fruit production later in the season.

The other group laid the hedge at the top end of the site. There was a mixture of species of trees including Alder, Elder, Hazel and Hawthorn these provide a food source for the birds that visit the site and the laying will provide extra light to this area of the site.

Both of these activities involve a great deal of skill and practise. At the end of the day we had achieved what we set out to do and were pleased with the results.

Today we worked with 17 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Sunday 10th October: APPLE DAY 2010 Bowling Park Community Orchard in allotments Bowling Park Drive

view of the siteview of the siteToday was the 10th Apple Day to be held in Bradford. This is the annual celebration of our apple and fruit heritage. We were blessed with glorious autumn sunshine which help to attract over 700 people. The site was transformed with marquees put up where various activities took place. There was a lovely atmosphere during the day and the visitors really enjoyed the range of activities that were on offer and the way the space looked. Volunteers helped with the setting up of the site, running of the activities and packing up at the end of the event. We are very grateful for all the help that we received. 

Click here to see other photos of the day. 

Friday 8th October: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments at Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

tidying the compost areatidying the compost areaToday was our chance to make the final site preperations before Apple Day 2010. A good turn out meant that we were able to concentrate on the areas that we needed to. So the growing beds were weeded and tidied, the compost bins were turned, the grass cut, hedges tidied, paths weeded and wildflower areas weeded. Looking at the site at the end of all this work it certainly looked ready for an open day. Plus the return of Raquel boosted moral for the day.

Click here for more photos of the day.

Today we worked with 19 volunteers.

Friday 2nd July 2010: Bowling Park Community Orchard and BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Friend's of notice boardsFriend's of notice boardsWe had aimed to visit both the Orchard and UNR today but there was really too much to do at the orchard to abandon it half way through. the day.

The grass is long and flowering throughout. Whilst this is intentional to allow habitat for invertebtates we chose to mow pathways through the grass to show intent and encourage peole to look around. The pathways and seating areas needed a little attention, but not as much as the veg beds. These were weeded and sweetcorn, pumpkins and tomatoes were planted.

The smart new display boards were mounted on the fence and now display information about our management approach and publicity for Apple Day. Sadly the new raspberries have not done very well, for no clear reason.

Staff carried out basic management of the UNR a couple of days later. I am pleased to report that there was very little evidence of Giant Hogweed with only a few small plants found in the woodland area. Fingers crossed.

User Forum After the task we gathered at the YMCA. Our first discussion was to gather ideas for a funding application for a future Community Wildlife project. Some interesting suggestions were made around more practical work and linking it to natural history education at sites, including work with families.

Then we discussed ideas for BEES 25th Anniversary celebration in September. We looked trhough old task programmes dating back to 1990 to identify which sites we would like to revisit. This wasn't a straightforward task as not all of the places were known to those present so it was hard to make an informed decision. However we came up with a 'long list' which will be used to plan a tour on 17th September, and maybe other dates through the year. We also decided to have a party in the evening, back at the YMCA. Expect your invite soon.

Friday 7th May 2010: BLOSSOM DAY 2010, Bowling Park Community Orchard, Bowling Park Dr, BD5

Visitors enjoying the dayVisitors enjoying the dayToday we ran one of our open days at the Orchard. A number of activities were planned and organised. We were please to welcome all sorts of people to the site including, YMCA staff, communitiy groups, school pupils, individuals and our volunteers. Art activities, minibeast hunts, habitat homes prepared and site tours were arranged for visitors. The volunteers were kept busy creating a minibeast habitat from old pallets, weeded the dogwood area and prepared one of the growing areas. Although the blossom on the apple trees was later than previous years, there was a pleasant atmosphere and the site looked very well cared for.   

Click here for other photos of Blossom Day including another special cake.

Today we worked with 15 volunteers.

Friday 30th April 2010: Bowling Park Community Orchard, allotments Bowling Park Dr, BD5

replacing the benchreplacing the benchToday we returned to the orchard for pereration towards our Blossom Day event next week. We split into smaller groups to carry out work across the site, a bench was replaced, grass cut in two areas, vegetable beds weeded, trees weeded, hedges cut and the shelter water butts secured. At the end of the day the site looked and now we hope for good weather so that we have a great display of blossom.

Today we worked with 13 volunteers.

Click here for other photos of the day. 

Friday 19th March 2010: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments at Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling.

Turning the compost binsTurning the compost bins Today we had our first visit of the year to the Orchard. After an initial introduction to the site for people who had not visited before we started a number of managment tasks. New Raspberry canes were planted, which included a thorough weeding of the beds. The remaining section of the central footpath was completed. A bench was replaced. Growing beds were prepared with the long term plan of growing crops to be used for Apple Day. And the compost bins were turned which yielded a useful supply of compost and was incorporated in the growing beds.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Today we worked with 17 volunteers 

Friday 9th October 2009: Bowling Park Community Orchard

New pathway under constructionNew pathway under constructionWe had another productive day at the orchard completing a further section (but not all) of the path. The path has been sligtly rerouted to give the Winston tree more room to spread. The change is a satisfying expression of how the orchard is maturing and changing with age.

We also cleared around the wildflowers, the dogwoods (which have responded marvelously to the pruning done by Dixon's Students in March), the rasperberries and some of the younger trees.

Thanks to the thirteen volunteers today we made the site ready for Saturday's Apple Day event.

Friday 2nd October 2009: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Allotments at Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

Friday 2nd October 2009: Spreading the new woodchip on the pathSpreading the new woodchip on the path

 Today we carried out a variety of tasks and after a general site introduction and tool talk we split into groups and made some more progress to replace the footpath, tidied and planted Ragged Robin in the bog garden area, mowed the lawn areas and weeded the herb and wilflower areas. There were 12 volunteers on site today.

Friday 11th Sept : Bowling Park Community Orchard, Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling.

Fri 11 Sept 09 Bowling Park Community Orchard: Enjoying the sunshineEnjoying the sunshine 

Today we carried out some of the regular maintenance jobs at the Orchard, this included mowing of the grass, cutting the hedge and weeding round the trees. We also started to replace the path by removing the woodchip. This will prepare the site for Apple Day on 10th October. Today's task was carried out in glorious sunshine and was enjoyed by 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the Bowling Park Community Orchard.

Friday 7th August: Bowling Park Community Orchard, Bowling Park Drive

Friday 7th August 2009 Bowling Park Community Orchard: Weeding the vegetable beds Weeding the vegetable beds

 Today we carried out the necessary task of maintenance at the site. We mowed grass using scythes and a mower, weeded path areas and vegetable beds and cut hedges. All this work is needed to keep the site looking a good example of a community orchard project whilst at the same time leaving plenty of space for wildlife to thrive. And today the Knapwed and Soapwort were looking very good and we found a lovely Shaggy Ink Cap. Again people who were new to the site were surprised at how away from the city it felt. There was an excellant turn out of 15 volunteers.

Click here for photos of the day.

Friday 8th May Bowling Park Community Orchard, Blossom Day Celebration

Blossom on the Ashmead's Kernal espalier, May 09Blossom on the Ashmead's Kernal espalier, May 09

We enjoyed a first for Blossom Day - there was blossom on at least some of the trees!! Last year on 2nd May and it hadn't started, the year before about the 10th May it was all over. The strong winds and heavy rain of the last week do not seem the ideal conditions for optimum pollination so fingers crossed for a good harvest.

Despite the showers and wind we managed to light the barbeque for volunteers, groups and visitors; do some watercolour painting; make insect homes and bee mobiles; plant flowers and vegetables.

Habitat Heroes staff spent the whole day with a group of pupils from Bowling Park Primary (Usher Street site) doing various activities and gathering ideas for their school grounds.

BEES volunteers continued with the work to create a pathway through the 'woodland' next to the orchard as well as clearing the main path and helping to weed the veg beds for Community Space Challenge.

Friday 17th April: Bowling Park Community Orchard,Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

ariel view of the siteariel view of the siteSeven volunteers worked at the orchard today in a productive session that included several different tasks.

We erected three bird boxes that had been made by pupils at Dixons City Academy. These pupils had also made some insect homes using dock, willowherb and loosestrife stems from the orchard placed in recycled plastic bottles.These, and a couple of shop bought ladybird and bee homes, have been secured in sunny spots.

Last summer the grass areas were not mowed very often and as a result there has been a significant increase in ground elder. We hope a stricter regime of mowing will bring it back under control. We also made a start on general weeding of vegetable beds and around the trees.

The plums and greengage were in full blossom and the pears just starting.

The afternoon was very sunny and we saw comma, orange tip and small tortoiseshell butterflies.

Sat 6th Dec 08 Bowling Park Community Orchard, in allotments Bowling Park Drive

Pruning at the orchardPruning at the orchardEight people benefited from our Trainer's experience of working with fruit trees. We covered the reasons to prune, the tools we would use and the techniques. Some of the pruning had been marked ready on Apple Day, too early in the year to do the task, and we talked through decisions about other trees. We identified a few problems in the orchard, for instance do we need to remove the Charles Ross which is diseased and doesn't look like it will survive? We have decided to try a bridge graft on the Peasgood Nonsuch in February to span a patch of canker. 

Sat 11th Oct: APPLE DAY 2008 Bowling Park Community Orchard

This is our annual celebration of our apple and fruit heritage and offers the opportunity for young and old to enjoy the vast array of apple and fruit games, food, growing, juicing etc. A first count of numbers indicated we had about 628 visitors to the orchard, the highest number since our first Apple Day in 2000. The event was a great success and a lot of this is down to the volunteer involvement on the day - starting with erecting the marquees (not an easy task as the trees get in the way (!) and the large marquees have to be 'walked' into postion over the trees, impossible without a large group of people), then helping by staffing the welcome gate, apple juicing, working in the cafe, supervising art activities and games, and the clearing away. We had a group of 13 volunteers from the Global Exchange programme as well as regular BEES volunteers. We would like to thank everyone for their hard work, especially the volunteers who were 'on duty' from 8am until 6pm.

Friday 10th Oct: Bowling Park Community Orchard

Preparing the orchard for Apple DayPreparing the orchard for Apple Day

13 volunteers worked hard to make sure the orchard was looking at its best for Apple Day on Saturday. We weeded the paths and seating areas that have become over grown and added a top dressing of chipped bark. The hedges around our plots and along the path were cut, this task is important as the excess height is shading the orchard. A temporary willow hurdle was comleted to protect the pond, this had been started by CSC young people earlier in the week. Veg beds and wildflower areas were weeded and more clearance around the trees was done with sickles and sycthes. Athough there is always more to do, we felt comfortable with how the orchard will appear to visitors new and old.

Vist the gallery to see more pictures from conseravtion tasks

Bowling Community Orchard

In the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Probably peak blossom today (regarding dates for group tasks anyway). 

There are a few notable trees which appear to be having a bit of a rest; Belle de Boskoop, Winston, Howgate Wonder, Lady Henniker and Allington Pippin all have little or no blossom. The Durondeau pear has been badly affected by frost with on a few blossoms escaping unharmed. 

Not much to report on the work front; a vaguely vertical (but less that satisfactory) door frame and the start of a not very satisfactory door (rather warped and not really square, but hopefully will do at least to start with).  

A few more onions planted.