I’M not going to lie – today was one of the loveliest mornings I’ve had in a long time, as a boring patch of useless grass I walk past every day was transformed into an orchard.
And it’s a ‘pick your own’ orchard in the truest sense, as the apples now growing in the Mill Lade are there for us all to harvest, use and enjoy. It is a community orchard.
I’m not one for rosy glow sentiments, but the sun was shining and it was absolutely delightful to have everyone literally mucking in, with burly men of Aberdeenshire Council’s landscape services department joining forces with Horizon volunteers, members of the community council, the Men’s Shed, councillors and keen members of the public who’d turned up to help with the happy task – notably the Hunter family: Walter, Nola, Reife and Rio.
And it was a job made very much more cheery, thanks to the aforementioned council employees who had already done most of the heavy work – removing a circle of turf and digging holes all ready for the 25 young trees.
The orchard is part of Aberdeenshire’s green spaces and biodiversity project, headed by Tajana Telisman Sosic. The local authority supplied the trees together with compost, fertiliser, posts, etc.
Neil Clapperton of Common Weald Cider also supported the scheme – and laid out the planting arrangement.
It is hoped some picnic benching will be in place for next year, so we can all go and enjoy the trees and the riverside. In the meantime, start looking up recipes for apple pie.