With their eyes on Saturday October 18 in the Rye Community Food & Wildlife Garden calendar, the Steering Group has been hard at work getting the planting holes ready for the 10 varieties of Sussex Heritage apple trees that will form the basis for the community orchard to be planted between 9am and midday.
The 10 varieties selected – Aldwick Beauty, Capper’s Pearmain, Crawley Beauty, Egrement Russet, Forge, Knobby Russet, Lady Sudeley, Sussex Mother, First & Last and Alfriston – include dessert apples as well as cookers (some are even dual purpose) and have been chosen to provide a cropping season from August through to March.
We have also tracked down a variety that originated in Rye, the Saltcote Pippin, but, although it would have been nice to have this for Apple Day, it can only be purchased as a bare-root tree and will be delivered later in the winter. In coming years, as the orchard trees mature, we will be able to produce Rye’s own apple juice and/or apple-based chutneys.
Mayor Bernadine Fiddimore will be doing the ceremonial duty on Saturday at about 11.30am of planting one of these trees. There will be refreshments – apple juice of course! – and information on bees, the all-important factor in successful blossom pollination next spring. Not all bees live in hives; so-called “solitary” bees must find safe shelter over the winter months if they are to survive. Children (or interested adults) will be able to learn how to make a bee B&B, using recycled plastic bottles and bamboo canes, which they can take home and put in their own gardens. In time, it is hoped that a beehive can be installed as part of the growing orchard, with sympathetic planting of wild flowers and fruiting hedgerows for the foraging bees.
Do come along to see what has been achieved in a few short weeks – in sturdy shoes, if you want to get stuck into some of the planting – and to enjoy the space which, in time, will become a haven of peace and tranquillity. Of course, it will also have become a productive fruit and vegetable garden.
Photo: Chew Valley Trees