The Orchards of St Andrews

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Orchards once dominated St Andrews but we now have few left; places like St John’s Gardens and the new housing developments on Abbey walk are but two of many former patches. Many communities – including St Andrews – are planting new orchards in an effort to increase biodiversity, enhance the landscape and provide a good source of local food. Transition are keen to support the re-establishment of orchards and fruit trees here and are investigating opportunities for planting trees and establishing a tree nursery. As part of this project, 12 of us went out to visit Fife expert Gerben de Vries from the NOG (Newburgh Orchard Group) for a workshop on Apple Tree Grafting. Here, scions (twigs) from successful apple tree varieties (such as Bramley seedlings) are grafted onto a standard rootstock to provide a productive tree. Plants growing from seeds have only a very small chance of making a good apple variety. Our group brought back 12 trees to be grown at the University Community Garden before being planted in their final position next year – that is, if the grafts have taken. Find out more at the Orchard Workday on Saturday 16th March from 1-3pm behind Mac’s Papershop on Lamond Drive.

 

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alistair.macleod
Ali is project manager of Transition University of St Andrews.