Apple Bee Community Orchard - March 2023
In 2022 the Friends began creating a community orchard on the site of a disused bowling green near the lake. Six trees were planted initially, and after seeing them thrive, we applied for a grant to The Tree Council who generously funded more in 2023.
We now have 80 trees, most are a mix of different types of cooking and dessert apples, but we also have pear, plum, cherry, greengage and crab apples. The trees have flourished and provide not only colour and variety to the park landscape but encourage pollinating insects.
The community has been involved at every stage. Volunteers provided muscle power to prepare the ground and dig holes. Pupils from Keser Girls’ School and St Peter’s Primary School assisted in the actual planting. Apple Bee Orchard was named following suggestions from local schools and we hope they will help design a logo for it in the near future. The husband of one of our members built the display cabinet that gives visitors information about the orchard. Gateshead Council has provided top soil and bark mulch to improve the planting environment and continues to loan tools and work with us on ongoing enhancements to the orchard and immediate vicinity.
Slightly further afield, Scotswood Garden in Benwell donated flowering shrubs last year to help diversify the landscape. Some 500 crocus corms were given to us by the Rotary Club of Gateshead, providing a lovely display in the spring.
The orchard is maintained by a group from the Friends who meet on site every Wednesday at 11am. We carry out general maintenance and check the trees, as well as light gardening, weeding and creating additional planting areas as the orchard evolves.
Contact us for more information about volunteering with the orchard.