Thanks to help from all sorts of local people and organisations the community orchard in Jubilee Park is thriving and is a main attraction for visitors as well as local people.
The first fruit tree was planted in the Autumn of 2012 and there are now over 60 including apples, pears, plums, gages, damsons and medlars, all heritage varieties, bought from contributions made by local families and organisations such as Elswick House Nursery, Whittington Primary School, Whittington & Fisherwick Parish Council, Whittington & Fisherwick Environment Group and Lend Lease.
Volunteers also planted over 400 shrubs and trees around the boundary of Jubilee Park and later incorporated spring flowering bulbs such as snowdrops and bluebells.
We have two wonderful specimen elms (Dutch Elm Disease resistant) planted near to the park's entrance.
Did you know that?: the number of orchards in England has fallen by over 60% since the second World War; almost 70% of our apples are imported; you can grow more than 2000 varieties of apples; commercial Cox's are sprayed an average of 18 times a year.
In Spring 2013, wildflower seed was sown by local volunteers including children, their parents, grandparents and others around the fruit trees.
We have had our challenges: the ground into which our fruit trees were planted was of poor quality and it has been essential to fortify it with manure. This year the trees will be mulched again.
You will recall the winter of 2012/13 and particularly the snow, which enabled rabbits to reach the unprotected parts of the trees and feast themselves on the bark.
The summer of 2013 was a real threat as the trees were in danger of drying out. Many of the boundary trees succumbed to the dry conditions but each challenge has been met by a determined band of volunteers, whether it's putting additional protection around the trees, watering them or replacing those that have been lost.
Sponsor a fruit tree: £30 each
Sponsor the meadow: £20 per 10m2
Or buy some bulbs: £20 per 100
Please donate via PayPal or make cheques payable to WFEG and send to Dave Murcott, 4 Osprey Close, Whittington, WS14 9HT
The development of the orchard has inspired a variety of events including: the Wassail, every January or February, and Apple Day, which is now a regular feature of October's calendar; and workshops for pruning and grafting.
For further information or to offer help please contact Dave Murcott on 01543 433125 or via firstname.lastname@example.org