Fruit & Nut Village Stirchley
Bulletin – February 2020
15th February 2020 – Planting and Tree Care Day
We will continue our cooking apple tree care and additional planting at Cookers Corner, after a very productive session there in November.
10am – 1pm – Cookers Corner, Hazelwell Park, meet opposite 103 Newlands Road
22nd February 2020 – Selly Park Secret Garden Work and Planting Day
A Fruit & Nut Village supported sub-project. We are developing this site, slightly further north from our usual patch.
10am – 1pm – meet at the bottom of Second Avenue near the bridge
27th February 2020 – Pebble Mill Forest Garden Planning Evening
Please join us for an informal chat to plan and prepare for the development of the forest garden at Pebble Mill Playing Fields
7pm – 8.30pm – Selly Park Tavern, Pershore Road, B29 7HQ
29th February 2020 – Nut Grove Planting
1st March 2020 – Orchard Care Day
We will give some winter care to the trees we planted on this site in early 2019 – this may include a little pruning and planting work.
10 am – 1 pm – meet at Broadmeadow Orchard – Ten Acres – north from Cartland Road on the River Rea cycle path
7th March 2020 – Forest Garden Development Day – Day 1 of 2
We will be planting some trees on the site and working at expanding the range of plants present in the space.
10 am – 2 pm – Pebble Mill Playing Fields – entrance off Kitchener Road
8th March 2020 – Orchard Development Day
We will be expanding the orchard here, increasing the range of fruits on our “Pearthorn” and working with the foraging hedge
10 am – 3 pm – The New Old Orchard, Stirchley Park
14th March 2020 – Forest Garden Development Day – Day 2 of 2
We will be working at expanding the range of plants present in the emerging Forest Garden space
10 am – 2 pm – Pebble Mill Playing Fields – entrance off Kitchener Road
21st March 2020 – Bench Grafting Workshop
Learn the skills to graft and grow your own heritage fruit tree. If you would like to take a tree away for your garden you may buy one (cheaply) at the event.
10am – 3pm – Umberslade Nurseries
28th March 2020 – Field Grafting
Help us to introduce new varieties of fruit to Stirchley Park through grafting.
10am – 2pm – Meet at the Cartland Road entrance to the cycle path on Cartland Road
18th April 2020 – Stirchley Snake Ride
Pedal along the River Rea and to our other Fruit & Nut Village sites…then picnic!
Times and meeting point TBC
We have been busy this winter – even visiting our orchards on 4th January to carry out a pruning session before the year had barely dawned.
Wassail went very well this year. We paraded and processed and made noise and listened to stories and ate food courtesy of The Real Junk Food Project…and some spent time together in a local pub afterwards. We are certain that we drove every evil spirit from our trees and from Stirchley Park itself.
Every Saturday we have been out working to care for established, establishing and new trees as well as preparing ground and planting new trees in Newlands Run and in the new orchard behind Beilby Road – what is this orchard called? We need some suggestions.
The January day in Umberslade Nurseries was very successful and varied. We cared for the trellis of cordon trees, worked hard at a variety of jobs with our adopted orchard there and also potted up trees we had grafted last year. The young grafted trees are a very useful resource for the project and the area and we plan to distribute these to new homes in coming winters.
We have a wide range of activities taking place through the next few weeks, as winter turns to spring. There are trees still needing planting, fruit trees to graft indoors for planting out in years to come, field grafting on site to further expand the range of fruits we are growing in Stirchley, forest garden development and plenty more. We are still running a weekly session every Saturday and some events on days outside of that pattern.
We’d really like to welcome anybody over 50 to join us on our Stirchley Baths and Library garden project. Behind these buildings we are creating a formal forest garden…with different types of bed,fan-trained fruit, a story-telling corner, an archway, an allium collection, unusual fruits and plenty more. We meet at 1 PM every Monday. Anyone wishing to join us can just turn up – no skills, knowledge or tools needed.
We are planning the further development of the site at Pebble Mill. We will have a meeting to discuss this before the planting sessions take place in March. If you are local to the Pebble Mill site off Kitchener Road then we would really like to join us to discuss and plan – please do EMAIL US to express your interest!
Volunteer Profile: Helen
I spend far too much of my time stuck indoors, whether it’s at work, doing household chores or overseeing kids’ homework, so the chance to get out into the fresh air, in all weathers, doing something physically active, with a sense of purpose is very valuable to me. The contact with the elements, with the natural world and with other friendly, sociable people brings me happiness, it’s no more complicated than that.
I love that the work that we do will still be making a contribution for years to come; that other people will still be enjoying the trees and picking fruit. And I love that there is such variety, of tasks, events, locations and, of course, plants, because you learn a great deal, often in a very incidental way, with so much shared knowledge on hand.
The rewards of this work change with the seasons, pruning apple trees on a sunny winter’s morning is a gentle, contemplative pleasure, but equally, digging holes and planting trees in muddy ground in the wind and rain is, for me at least, an invigorating experience once in a while! The virtuous feeling that follows makes returning home, eating a hot meal together and settling down on the sofa, all the more enjoyable!
Then there are the warm Autumn days, watching the children lying on the mulch pile in the sunshine, smiling and happy, or pushing the wheelbarrow through orchards and parks, chatting with friends and meeting new people.
Whenever I describe Fruit and Nut Village to people they always think it sounds like a great idea, but it isn’t until you actually get involved that you can really appreciate it. The feeling that you are making a lasting, positive difference and enjoying every minute of it is a rare experience and one to be cherished.
Fruit Corner: George Fox
We have been planting the George Fox apple across our local area as part of Fruit & Nut Village’s work. This tree has perhaps the strongest connection to Stirchley, originating in the local suburb of Bournville!
We were tipped off about the existence of this apple variety in 2018 and we managed to locate and buy some trees.
From the descriptions of the apple variety it looks to be a great selection. The apple is partially-fertile and has a late picking time, but the fruits keep until May! The flavour is supposed to be very good. We have found the trees to be large, robust and quick growing.
The man, George Fox, established the Religious Society of Friends, or, Quaker movement, hence the naming of this apple variety.
Caring For YOUR Orchard
Winter is a busy time in the orchard. There’s still plenty of time to prune and inspect apple and pear trees for canker. Young trees need their branching framework to be developed, and this is a winter job.
Grafting work takes place at the beginning of spring so it is a great time to select and collect scion wood to create copies of your favourite trees in a few weeks time. Bag up the scion wood and store it in the fridge until you want to graft it. Scion should be from one-year old growth and disease-free. Select pieces around the width and length of a pencil.
If you need any ideas, help or advice about winter fruit tree care then do join us on one of our work days.
Fruit & Nut Village Stirchley is supported by the National Lottery through the
Heritage Lottery Fund