Orchard News Updates

 

November 2013

There will be an Orchard Session this Sunday November 24th from 1-3pm. We will be working on the the soft fruit bushes, giving the hedges and trees some TLC and doing garden maintenance. All welcome, including new volunteers and accompanied children.

 

Thanks to all volunteers who made the last session such a productive one. The repair to the fence in the SW corner of the Orchard is nearly complete, the hay is gathered in and volunteers learnt how to prune and mulch the fruit bushes. We also found a rare blue toadstool, Verdigris Roundhead Stropharia aeruginosa.

Blue Toadstool

 

There is one more session to come this year, on Saturday December 7th from 1-3pm.

 

September 2013

In the next four sessions we will finish off the haymaking, harvest the apples and blackberries, plant over 400 wild flowers and sow seed!   Please try to come, even if you can only manage one session. New volunteers and accompanied children welcome. Bring rakes and trowels if you have them.

 

For your diary the dates are:

Saturday September 14th 2-4pm

Sunday September 29th 2-4pm

Saturday October 12th 2-4pm

Sunday October 27th 1-3pm (note change of time – the clocks go back)

 

We have bought the seed from Kevin Wharf, a farmer near Rothbury. Kevin harvests it from his own hay meadows using a specially-made seed collector .

 

Jam and Chutney making is in progress for the Puffing Billy Centenary Orchard stall on September 21st. The stall is a very good fund raiser for the Orchard. All contributions welcome either on the day or leave them at 5 Ingham Terrace.

 

July 2013

Help is needed at the two remaining July sessions. Please come to either or both, and bring any friends who might be interested. Accompanied children welcome, biscuits provided.

 

Sunday July 14th 2-4pm.  The fruit trees need some TLC. This year we have a fruit crop for the first time and the trees need both light and heavy maintenance jobs.

 

Saturday July 20th 2-4pm. Haymaking session! This is an extra session to get the wild flower meadow cut and raked. See the new power scythe in action, and bring a rake if you have one as we need all hands on deck to clear the hay. This was a real fun session last year, come and try it, even if you’ve not done it before, full training given.

 

May 2013

Membership: Now is the time to renew your membership. Please contact an orchard committee member if you do not want your name to go up in the shop window!

 

There will be an additional wildflower plug-planting session THIS SUNDAY 26th MAY from 2-4pm.  There will also be work ongoing in the Orchard to prepare the fruit trees for the coming season. Jobs for the session this Sunday include:

  1. Lift ground cover fabric, tipping mulch onto soil.
  2. Undo each tree guard, remove weeds from base of tree, adjust tree tie and move up tree.
  3. Weed and edge area around the tree.
  4. Apply organic fertilizer (fish, blood and bone) at 4oz per sq yard to soil surface.
  5. Hoe in fertilizer and level soil.
  6. Replace ground cover fabric and apply liberal covering of manure.
  7. Re-tie tree guard.

You don’t need to come for the full 2 hours, but any time you can give would be greatly appreciated. A small amount of time and help make a huge difference to the job of maintaining the Wildflower Meadow and Orchard.

Please come along and help plant the remaining wildflower plugs if you can, it will all be worth it when they come into flower!  For further info on the Wildflower Meadow and the Orchard Biodiversity iniative, please get in touch with Alison Fisher.

Children are always very welcome.

January 2013

We have an Orchard Session THIS SATURDAY – 12th January from 1-3pm. Please come along and help if you can as your support would be greatly appreciated! Please remember that you do not have to attend for the entire 2 hours if you are not able to. Any time that you can give to help out maintaining the Orchard will make a huge difference.

Jobs for the session this Saturday include:

- transplant trees and shrubs from Hay Meadow

- apply tar traps to base of trees

- adjust tree ties

- plant native hedging

In terms of tools to bring, any or some of the following would be ideal: a fork, a spade, pair of shears, a trowel, set of loppers, a saw, wheelbarrow, mattock.

Footwear should be stout shoes or boots and it’s best to wear gardening gloves. As usual, parking is in the Wylam First School car park. Please remember that any help you can give is extremely useful in maintaining this fantastic community asset, you don’t have to come for the full 2 hours.

 

 

November 2012

We have an Orchard Session THIS SATURDAY – 17th November from 1-3pm. Please come along and help if you can as your support would be greatly appreciated! Please remember that you do not have to attend for the entire 2 hours if you are not able to. Any time that you can give to help out maintaining the Orchard will make a huge difference.

Jobs for the session this Saturday include:

- weeding and mulching fruit trees and bushes

- tree and hedge pruning

- general site maintenance

- creating wildlife habitats

In terms of tools to bring, any or some of the following would be ideal: a fork, a spade, pair of shears, a trowel, set of loppers, a saw, wheelbarrow, mattock.

Footwear should be stout shoes or boots and it’s best to wear gardening gloves. As usual, parking is in the Wylam First School car park. Please remember that any help you can give is extremely useful in maintaining this fantastic community asset, you don’t have to come for the full 2 hours.

 

 

Our 2012-2013 Wylam Orchard Diary is attached so please do browse through it – there are lots of great events planned that may be of interest to a number of you. There is also useful information for people thinking of coming along to a session, e.g. dates of forthcoming Orchard sessions, what to bring and where, etc. For quick reference, the next Orchard Sessions are:

Saturday 17th November 2012 – 1pm until 3pm

Sunday 2nd December 2012 – 1pm until 3pm

Saturday 12th January 2013 – 1pm until 3pm

CHRISTMAS DRINKS – Friday 7th December at 7pm in the Fox and Hounds! (Wylam)

 

 

Also, please see below for an update from Alison Fisher, leader of our Orchard Biodiversity Group:

Biodiversity update

New photos and videos from the wildlife camera show a real diversity of mammals this autumn. Badger, fox, pheasant, grey squirrel and cats have visited the site, and there are shots of two adult roe deer and a large fawn. We are looking into ways of making these available to everyone.

Some of the seed sown on the wild flower meadow at the beginning of October has now germinated, particularly on the area which had the topsoil removed. Germination on the lower slope however will be slow as the wet weather has made the ground very heavy. Cross fingers for a dry spell!

Although the main action for the year is now over with the sowing of the wild flower meadow, there are winter tasks to be done to aid biodiversity. This Saturday we will be cleaning out the nest box on the silver birch which was host to a family of blue tits this summer. There are also brushwood piles to build. These will attract insects next season which will encourage bats to take up residence in our new bat box.

Please come along, children very welcome.

Alison Fisher

Membership – now is the time to renew your Orchard membership! Contact a member of the Orchard Committee if you do not want your name to go up in the shop window….

Hope to see you lots of you on Saturday!

 

September 2012

 

Have you been down to the Orchard recently? It has been a busy year. Members planted more fruit trees to complete the orchard area and got to work planting soft fruit canes and bushes on the lower part of the site; a biodiversity study was undertaken, bird boxes were put up and a family of blue tits were nesting in one of the boxes, the wildlife camera has captured deer, badgers, foxes and some of the local felines.

 

Children in Year 4 were involved in the creation of the Orchard Information Board which is sited at the top of the orchard. The children designed aspects of the board and the carvings ont he posts, it is a really beautiful and useful addition. (Please see our Orchard Panel page).

 

Exciting plans are afoot for 2012/13 including a wildflower meadow, bat boxes, planting native hedging and working with the school on the Community Outdoor Classroom.

 

School Choir

Wylam First School choir is open to all children in Years 2, 3 and 4. We meet every Friday lunchtime (12.30 - 1:00) in the nursery classroom. We sing a wide variety of songs and the emphasis is always on having fun. We have performed at a wide variety of venues throughout the North East. Read more about it here.