As well as getting a chance to meet like-minded folk and share orchard tips, guests were treated to workshops led by some inspiring experts including Barry Stewart from Celtic Wildflowers who came to deliver a workshop about wildflower meadow management.
Liam Olds from Buglife inspired everyone on his pollinator walks and Tom Adams from Tom Adam’s Organic Fruit Tree Nursery came all the way from Oswestry to demonstrate summer espalier pruning. On top of all that, tours of the Margam gardens were also offered with their head gardener, Jeanette Dunk.
“We were like children on the bug hunt! Learned so much”
Our TOP team took the opportunity to speak about their Orchard Mentoring programme for Swansea, and also launch our new ‘Certificate in Community Orcharding (CICO), Wales’!
The Gathering received great feedback from the orchard leaders. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed sharing experiences and consolidating the work they have been doing in and around Swansea. The free “fantastic lunch” from ethical caterers, The Shared Plate, also went down a treat!
TOP’s Welsh community orchards are some of our newest and busiest projects. Despite the challenges posed by lockdown, our local Project Managers, Kate and Witchhazel, managed to squeeze in (socially-distanced) meetings with volunteers at survey sites, encouraged community groups to design their own layout for the new trees and planted five new orchards in March! The orchard leaders have been crucial in catalyzing this amazing progress; their Orchard Gathering was certainly well deserved!
“Really enjoyed talking with others about what they are doing with The Orchard Project”
Feeling inspired? Why not enrol onto the newly launched ‘CICO Wales’ course starting this September? CICO at TOP is the UK’s only accredited course in managing community orchards. Students learn a wide range of skills including tree planting, pruning, grafting and tree identification. Get involved!