We ran our first ever Orchard Restoration Skills Training day this week ahead of our winter pruning workshops and Wassails. Key volunteers from the ten orchards we are working with this year in the Celebration of Orchards project, and some of our “orchard mentors”, came along for a day of learning and sharing.
We discovered the mythology and history of the apple, from its origins in the Tian Shen mountains of China to the thousands of varieties we now grow in the UK. We learnt about managing orchards for biodiversity and how to prune veteran fruit trees. We discussed ways of engaging the community and dealing with problems that arise, such as vandalism. And we had a fun quiz to identify different species of fruit trees from their bark, buds and leaves, and had a walk around the orchard at Roots and Shoots. We hope that everyone who came left feeling inspired and confident, and ready for the challenges of preserving their community orchards over the next year!