When I blog about a new project I'm undertaking it's usually knitting or sewing related, but this time its on a slightly larger scale: an orchard.
We recently brought from our neighbours an orchard that borders our garden. It had been in their family since the 1920s, so they had a great attachment to it and had refused all previous offers from other neighbours to buy it. However, they surprised us last year by asking if we'd like to buy it as they knew that we'd hankered after it and would restore it back to how it would have been. So, since last month we've been the orchard's new owners and boy, do we have our work cut out!
As the orchard hadn't been managed for at least ten years, lots of bramble had sprung up and was slowly taking over the ground and climbing up on the trees. So, my first job was to cut back the bramble and ivy. Luckily, we had a week of lovely sunny weather soon after we had brought it, so I was able to crack-on with the clearing.
|Bottom left: The size of the project is just dawning on me!|
Apparently, sheep used to be grazed in here back in the Twenties and earlier, and even a horse used to be stabled here. The remains of the livestock sheds are at the back of the orchard, but they're derelict...
...however they are starting to give up a few of their 'treasures' such as this old mangle!
We also found beneath one of the trees a lead label carved with the name 'Charles Ross', so at least we know what one of the apple varieties in the orchard is!
All the trees are now in blossom and the bluebells are out too, so there's a lot of colour (and bee activity) taking place in there.
We've now taken down the hedge that once divided off our garden from the orchard so that it's one big open area and the enormity of the task ahead is daunting, yet exciting.
Our plan is to restore the orchard, removing the remainder of the bramble scrub in autumn as they're providing breeding bird habitat at present, and re-stock it with local heritage varieties of fruit trees. At present, apples are the main trees with some plum and a single pear, but I'd like to add a few more plums and pears to the mix with some elderberry bushes too.
I'll be updating you all on the orchard's progression throughout the year - so wish us luck with our new project - I think we'll need it!