Local orchard plans for growth

An environmental art project by a leading sculptor is just one of the ideas to be discussed at Monday evening’s Jesmond Community Orchard annual general meeting.

The community-organised project is little more than a year old, but has already transformed a derelict site into a pleasant green area where locals can escape Jesmond’s busy streets to sit in peace and enjoy seeing the blossom and developing fruit, says co-ordinator Fiona Clarke. (Watch the slideshow below.)

“Everyone is welcome to the annual meeting in Jesmond Library on Monday for a slide presentation on the past year’s progress, and plans for the coming year,” she says. “In a short time a group of local people has cleared the site, planted an interesting variety of fruit trees and bushes, and continued to maintain and develop this new open space for the benefit of the wider community. They have organised events and activities in the orchard to attract people of all ages and abilities, and introduce them to local food growing.”

At present the south-facing stone wall that forms the boundary of the site is being repaired, thanks to funding from North and South Jesmond Ward Committees and Newcastle Bereavement Services. “Not only does this greatly improve the appearance of the orchard, it also provides a perfect base for training tender types of fruit trees that won’t usually grow this far north,” explains Clarke. “The warmth and protection of the wall should shelter them from frost and wind. This extra planting will take place next winter, subject to more fundraising.”

Next on the agenda is an environmental art project with Northumberland-based sculptor and installation artist Julia Barton who has come up with design ideas for an entrance feature and sensitive artwork within the site.

The meeting at Jesmond Library begins at 6.30pm on Monday, 27th June.

For more information visit the orchard’s website. You can also make a donation through Local Giving.