The 'Thundridge Community Orchard' known as 'Jean's Orchard' is an orchard project left in trust to the community by local resident Jean Hobbs who sadly passed away in November 2016. The orchard idea was launched in June 2017 by Jean's family after testing the idea with the community and found that it would be a viable and worthwhile exercise. Read more on the about page.
See the calendar for visiting times and the diary for progress reports, photos and videos.
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Work began in July by volunteers to clear the orchard of shoulder-high nettles, overlong grass, bramble, ivy, nettles, ant nests, mole hills and fallen branches. Some old fruit trees were overgrown and almost overwhelmed by ivy, these took quite a lot of work as the main ivy stems were very thick. Once the bulk of the green rubbish was cleared we had a better idea of what we had in terms of what we had and what was needed to do improve/enhance the orchard. We found a small selection of well established fruit trees (Apple, Cherry, Pear, Plum, Damson and a huge Cob/Hazel). and a couple of Birch trees and a Yew. There is a good selection of shrubs and perennials in a circular border near the summerhouse (needed a bit of TLC). Also a couple of clematis growing on side of garage and trellis by the garage.
Next we needed to raise funds to order fourteen new fruit trees which we intended to plant in the coming winter. These would be a mixture of apples, pears, plums and cherries, all heritage varieties native to Hertfordshire. People were so generous with donations of money the trees were duly ordered. Work started in the autumn to prepare the ground for tree planting in January 2018.
January saw the 14 new fruit trees planted. Some of existing trees and shrubs pruned. Summerhouse painted, roof repaired and guttering with downpipes added to collect rain into waterbutts.
Regular working days kept orchard looking great, although we had to keep new trees well watered in the quite hot dry summer.
Purple Pershore (12Kg) & Victoria (4Kgs) plums collected for jam making and selling.
Bulbs planted 13th October around the new trees ready for a springtime flush of colour.
Massive congratulations all round for winning the 'CPRE Rural Living' award presented 13th October. Trustees working hard to get company set up and pushing for the orchard to have a charitable status.
Carrying on with the great work done so far we have had a couple of working days so far this year to weed around new trees, mow paths and strim scrub/weeds around perimeter.
We are looking to plant some more fruit trees, more perennials, annuals and biennials into existing borders and maybe into one or two of the 'flower/tree circles' (we need more colour and insect attractive plants). We are also looking at putting up some bird boxes, create a few wild flower areas, add a bee hive or two, plant some fruiting/flowering hedgerows and build a raised pond.
We still have some fallen and dead trees that need chopping into logs and placing somewhere for the wildlife to make use of.
If you have an hour or two to spare and you’d like to help out with a little light work come along to one of our working days, see calendar. There is always plenty to do and we depend on volunteers to keep the orchard going. Its a great way to get some exercise, fresh air, get to meet other local residents, meet up with/or make new friends. Sometimes there is tea and cakes provided, whats not to like!!
Also if you would like to become a member of the website to join in with conversations and hear about the latest news email us and we'll send you login details. Thanks.
Could you help us with a little physical work in the orchard or with donations, unwanted gardening tools or even sponsoring? To be involved in this exciting new project in some way please email us or just turn up when we're open (see calendar).
You can make a donation via PayPal, no need for a PayPal account.
Read more on the fund raising page. Thanks.
We now have a beehive, view page.
Autumn Open Afternoon 14.00-16.00. Come and see the progress of the new fruit trees and bee hive.
Orchard AGM. This date and time oo be confirmed.