Pickering Road Community Orchard and Wildlife Garden
Hull's Secret Orchard.
The orchard was planted in 2003/4 as part of the NHS 5 a day healthy eating scheme. By 2006, the whole operation was given over to volunteers who have continued to raise awareness of healthy eating and keeping active. There are 350 trees, which consist of 26 varieties of apples, plus some damsons and pears on two acres of unused allotment land. Harvest time is August to late October when we have Open Days for the public. If they give us a donation of £2 they are allowed to take 2 kilos of fruit. These donations pay for the running costs of both the orchard and the wildlife garden. The fruit is also donated to schools, Sure Start and old people's homes in order to educate them about where food comes from.
Last year we became involved with Hull Feastival, which was aimed at tackling food poverty. We showed people how we make our own apple juice in a press. In addition, I have begun to give talks to local groups about the orchard in order to raise our profile. We also have events such as a Wassail in January and May Day to celebrate summer, which keeps local traditions alive. Last year a group of volunteers made and installed an artwork called The Four Seasons Mural which is very popular. Luckily, we have bee hives, which give is about 50 jars of clear honey per year.
At present we have about nine volunteers aged between 50 to 85 but we need more. The Wildlife garden is a place to relax. It consists of a pond, a circular walkway, a small herb garden, shrubs and full trees, a beetle bank and spider habitats. However, it has suffered from neglect over the past couple of years due to ill health of the volunteer who was looking after it. A plan has been hatched to restore it to its award winning condition and work has begun. Maybe we should call it the lost garden of Hulligan. We plan to educate people about helping wildlife flourish. Foraging for herbs and wild fruits plus the medicinal benefits of various plants. If you would like any more information please look at our website www.hullorchard.co.uk and our facebook page.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
£500 would help towards a new fence for the southern boundary between the wildlife garden and the allotments. We need to buy white clover seeds to spread between the fruit trees. Clover will fix nitrogen in the soil and keep the weeds down. £2.50 buys enough clover seeds to cover 50 meters square. This would mean we could stop using weedkiller so that would help all of the beneficial insects.
How would this benefit people for years to come? Some of the money could go towards buying new plants for the wildlife garden. Showing people how to make a Lavender pillow to help them sleep better is priceless. Teaching people to identify Wild Garlic and cook with different herbs would give people more confidence to be adventurous with food. Plus we can show people how to make a posy of flowers from whatever is to hand in the garden. £500 would pay for all of the hand tools and the petrol for the lawnmowers and strimmers for a whole year at least. How many people will it help? More than 500.
"Pickering Road Community Orchard is Hull's best kept secret.
Yvette Grindley Secretary."