Spring 2015 update - Wendover Community Orchard

Tracy Kiss  |  Published: May 5th 2015
wendover community orchard

It's been almost three months since the Wendover Community Orchard was planted, so I've returned for a spring visit to see how it's getting on; thankfully all seems to be settling in rather nicely. The once bare grass is now blossoming with a flood of vibrant yellow cowslips that were seeded four years ago when preparations for the wild flower meadow first began, choosing this year to come out in full bloom and bring a splash of sunshine yellow to the orchard. Along with beautifully ornate purple selfheal, wild garlic and proud white oxeye daisies, the wildflower meadow is set to be a sensational mix of nature’s finest come the summer. The wildflower meadow will be cut twice annually, at the start and end of the summer, to allow the flowers to flourish and re-establish, changing the colour of the meadow, height and coverage as the months roll by.


The trees are also taking well to their new surroundings, with each one surviving the chilly winter months and now showing signs of growth. The emerging spring blossom and flowers are trimmed from the trees to prevent them from fruiting this year, as it's important that they develop a strong root system instead, and they'll be kept under a watchful eye and maintained throughout the year to give them the best start possible. Each tree is protected by a special casing which will stay intact for the next 18months-2years before being replaced by a wire trunk cover to prevent wandering wild deer and rabbits from nibbling away at the bark.


The beauty of the orchard lies within the roots of its setting, as the plants and trees which are now growing all have a local connection and are in remembrance of the brave war heroes of our village. Take for example the Aylesbury Plum that fruits just six weeks of the year. To growers this heritage tree is not commercially viable for its small yield, and without the orchard it could easily be lost and forgotten. Now families, schools and walkers alike can hand pick and sample a whole range of forgotten and rare fruits at their most fresh and finest. It's expected to take around two years until the orchard is fully fruiting, although it's ultimately down to Mother Nature to set her clock as the weather, success of pollination and amount of ground frost play a big part. Nevertheless the Wendover Community Orchard is already an area of tranquillity and natural beauty that will only become more breathtaking with time.


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