Orchard installs long-awaited artwork

A local artist has worked alongside Jesmond Community Orchard committee members to create striking new artwork for its site in St Andrew’s Cemetery.

A large metal structure in the shape of an archway has been installed at the entrance of the orchard to help make it more visible to the public, while new metal lettering on the brick buttress reads “The Orchard” to alert locals to what lies in that corner of the cemetery.

A day was spent digging out holes to put the structure in and preparing the ground and the trees that were to be planted either side of the archway. Steps were taken to ensure that the new entrance feature would not impact on existing trees and plants.

Local artist Julia Barton – best known for her artwork for the Bridges Festival in Newcastle Upon Tyne – was asked to design the entrance feature and came along to help put the structure into place. “I had to try and find something simple that would suit what the orchard represents and I feel with the structure I have designed, with the simplicity of it, this has been achieved.”

Barton had the designs ready  for more than a year and commissioned John Rutherford, a blacksmith, to create the structure. However, the Orchard committee then needed to raise the funds to be able to put the structure into place. The committee applied successfully for a LEAF grant while committee members also carried out their own fund-raising efforts.

The archway is decorated by two types of trees which will eventually intertwine together at the top of the arch. One side has a crab apple tree (a Malus Red Sentinel) and the other, a rambling rose.

Orchard treasurer Fiona Clarke commented: “The whole day was very tiring as it was so hot but it was a wonderful day and a great achievement. It was nice to see many blossoms are also starting to come out so the whole orchard is starting to look stunning for the summer. Lots of watering is needed so our message to anyone who is passing would be, if you happen to have a spare moment, your help is much appreciated.”

A new leaflet for the orchard has also been designed and created by students at nearby Northern Counties. It will be handed out at events and can be found in places around Jesmond and in Café 1901.

Clarke says everyone is welcome to come along to the regular maintenance sessions on Wednesday afternoons as volunteers keep it in shape for picnics which are planned for the this summer.

Orchard volunteers will take part in the Jesmond Community Festival procession this Saturday, and will be staffing a stall at the Fair in West Jesmond Primary School on Saturday afternoon. And on Sunday (29th April) they will be holding their own fun day at the orchard for anyone to come and enjoy. You can find out more about the orchard here.

Click below to view a gallery of photos from the day: