Final site preparations for Apple Day, plus harvesting.
Bowling Park Community Orchard
Today we had to postpone our trip to Sydenham Place Wildlife Garden as we needed to carry on with work on the roof of the shed.
The event is free, but without the generous donations made by visitors we would not be able to hire marquees and the toilet.
If you wish to volunteer at the event or helping to set up the marquees etc please get in touch in advance so we can plan transport and tasks.
Blossom Open Days 2018
Friday 11th May 11am-3pm and Saturday 19th May 10am-1pm.
You are invited to come along to the orchard to enjoy the blossom, have a look around and learn more about the orchard.
There will be the normal Friday Volunteer Group activities 11th, or you can just pop in for a cup of tea and a chat, or to have a go at some drawing or minibeast searches.
We are still a bit unsure what the blossom will do this year; a cold winter especially March, but a few warm days in mid April. The first signs of plum blossom were showing on April 21st. With two dates to choose from we can't go wrong...?!
Our first wassail.
We enjoyed our first wassail at the orchard at the end of January 2017. We'd thought of doing it many times, but never quite got round to it.
Sue led us in a few appropriate words around Belle de Boskoop, our most productive tree, but really it was just an excuse to have a social gathering at the orchard. We had a fire to get rid of pruninings and hedge cuttings and it was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and take stock of what we need to do to have a successful year ahead.
There are some key tasks to undertake; revamping the paths, benches and shelters, ongoing grass cutting, weeding etc. We need to create more storage for apples. Can we make something (a straw bale shed, flowering roof?), or shall we buy a shed? We want to continue to increase nectar sources in the orchard so the bees are happy all year round.
How do we coordinate work days and harvesting visits? Interestingly a re-read of our management plan (attached at the bottom of this page) highlights the lack of any mention of the harvest! This is now a key task, and crucial that we plan it properly so that we make the best use of the apples.
So, at the same time as updating the management plan we will make sure this year's action plan reflects what we need to do and how we are going to do it.
If you have got any ideas, or want to get involved, please get in touch.
The management plan is attached at the bottom of the page. It gives an overview of the orchard; background, ethos, intentions and an outline of the seasonal work plan.
Please get in touch if you have any comments.
BEES has been involved in developing Community Orchards at Bowling Park Allotments, Redcliffe (Keighley) and in many school grounds.
We see them as a place to grow fruit, develop wildlife habitats and create sociable urban green space.
Orchard cultivation nationally has declined by 57% since 1950. Community Orchards offer the opportunity to counteract this decline whilst learning and sharing fruit growing skills and growing varieties that are distinctive of our locality and that we cannot readily buy elsewhere. They offer space for wildlife and for the community to celebrate and enjoy the harvest and heritage surrounding fruit growing and its use.
The orchard is developed on six disused allotment plots adjacent to Bowling Park.
In March 2003 we planted over 40 trees including
- 35 varieties of apple,
- 6 pears and
- 4 plums.
The orchard is managed by BEES conservation volunteers and we have established the Friends of Bowling Park Community Orchard who we hope will take responbsibility for the orchard into the future. New members are welcome - please contact BEES if you wish to find out more.