Orchards used to be play an essential role in communities over the centuries. They were gathering spaces for celebration, a place to work, and collect the harvest, providing a vital source of food for the local community.  They were also a beautiful eco system, nurturing nature and all living forces.

Bucks has many forgotten varieties that you can now see in our Orchard.  Sadly, as Orchards across Britain dwindled , unique varieties and the skills to manage the Orchards have been almost lost. Commercially grown apples focus on a handful of varieties. Our Orchard is part of a movement to protect our local trees. Lindengate in partnership with the Chalk Cherries and Chairs heritage project, our brilliant staff, volunteers and participants are playing a part to reverse this decline. Chalk, Cherries & Chairs Heritage Project

Our Heritage Orchard is new to Lindengate this year and has been a stunning addition.  With the help of many volunteers, including Chiltern Rangers, Vale Countryside Volunteers, Chiltern Society, BBOWT, our Green Volunteens (weekly volunteers under 18 years), & many participants as part of their seasonal nature based activities, the Heritage Orchard has never looked better.

During 2021, the area was cleared and dug over, with a variety of vegetables planted, which naturally broke down the earth, while supplying us with a fantastic harvest of potatoes, onions, leeks and other seasonal vegetables.

Last Autumn, the cornfield, annual, wildflower seed mix was sown along the top Orchard flower strip.  The flowers have been spectacular over Spring and Summer, with our Devil’s Bit Scabious flowers being a vital food source for the Marsh fritillary butterfly.

We have deliberately let the wildflower seed mix grow within the grass on one side of the main path to give us a larger seed bank to sow for next year and of course to enhance the natural habitat and food sources for wildlife.  Next year our aim is to have more wildflower seeds sown within the grass.  Orchid seeds have also been sown. It takes about 5 years for the Orchids to establish so patience is definitely a virtue.

Having planted a variety of Heritage Orchard trees, we took the decision this year to keep most of the grass short to help the trees establish.  With the help of our programme participants and expert wood volunteers, wooden tree ID stakes have been created, with designs painted on each one to make the trees easily identifiable.   Some of the more mature trees are already producing fruit.

We have recently added two rows of bench seats at the top ring of the Orchard, where a giant story chair, will take pride of place, along with a fire pit.

When creating a balanced eco system and wildlife habitat in the orchard, ponds are essential.  They bring balance to any area, encouraging bugs, birds and all manner of wildlife.  Look out for dragon flies, frogs and newts in our pond.  Our ducks and ducklings have certainly enjoyed the ponds during the Spring and Summer.

Our Hugelkultur (pronounced Hoo-gul-culture) beds are underway through the work of volunteers and participants.  By next year we will be able to grow vegetables on them. If you want to learn more about this method of growing click on the following link: https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur.

A new stumpery to rival the our existing one onsite has also been created, to become an artistic feature but more importantly, a lively bug hotel.

We were delighted to have two Aylesbury Prune trees planted amongst our other native Heritage fruit trees.  Our passion now for growing more Aylesbury Prunes have been developed in partnership with Chiltern Conservation. Lindengate is part of the project to grow more Aylesbury Prunes in Bucks.  We are working with the Chiltern Society to grow and plant 1000 Aylesbury Prune trees across the Tring, Wendover and across the Aylesbury Triangle over the next 5 years.  The Chiltern Conservation Board and various local farmers have already made a commitment to plant these fabulous trees in locations we can easily forage from them.  The project will be part of our Community Wildbelt Project.

We have a number of Aylesbury Prune trees available to buy from Lindengate, so head to LINDENGATE SHOP for full details of this and all our other plants and products.