The Mayor of Nantwich, Councillor David Marren, recently joined members of Nantwich in Bloom on Nantwich Riverside to unveil a new sign at the town’s orchard which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.
Nantwich in Bloom volunteers maintain the orchard with help from Reaseheath students and lecturers, other local fruit tree experts and interested members of the local community. Dabber Dames WI contributed and planted a ‘Conference’ pear tree earlier this year, while ANSA (Cheshire East) have been responsible for mowing the grass.
The community orchard is open to all, so anyone can come to sample the fruit. We just ask that you leave enough for others to enjoy it too!
The orchard now contains forty-five fruit trees. This includes thirty-eight assorted apple trees, three pear trees, two damsons, one plum and a greengage.
Selection of fruit cultivars
To help preserve and maintain old fruit varieties, a range of traditional fruit trees have been planted. These include old Cheshire varieties, such as the apples ‘Minshull Crab’, ‘Arthur Barnes’ and ‘Millicent Barnes’, which were raised at Eaton Hall, together with other ‘northern’ fruit varieties such as ‘Golden Spire’ originating from Lancashire and ‘Keswick Codlin’ from the Lake District. An ‘Aston Town’ pear tree and two pippin apple trees from the orchard in Aston near Nantwich were provided by Elizabeth Gentil in memory of her late husband Tony Gentil, to whom the orchard is dedicated.
Labelling of fruit trees
Each tree has an individual hanging label with type of fruit and cultivar name.
The wooden posts adjacent to each tree have a colour-coded painted band to indicate the type of fruit. Red, yellow and green indicate whether the apples are eating (dessert), dual purpose, or cooking (culinary). Brown bands indicate pear trees and purple bands show the location of plum, greengage and damson trees.
Five ‘unknown’ apple trees have just been identified by the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent and we have labelled the trees accordingly. This year, as a separate webpage, we aim to produce a plan of the orchard with information about each of the cultivars.
One apple tree (a probable cooker) is awaiting identification – perhaps it will produce enough fruit this year to allow this!
Our future plans for the orchard
• To identify and record all the fruit varieties planted in the orchard.
• To maintain the orchard for the enjoyment of Nantwich residents.
• To involve local fruit experts along with the local community in pruning and maintenance – look out for information regarding winter pruning workshops.
• To use it to raise the profile of local orchards and Cheshire fruit varieties and also to contribute to Apple Festivals.
If you would like to become involved in the Nantwich Community Orchard Project please contact the Nantwich in Bloom Secretary, Sue Hughes, via email firstname.lastname@example.org