Category Archives: Gardening

New apple trees and orchard

Residents and Open Orchard had an enjoyable day planting apple trees on Palace Road Estate last month. Many thanks to everyone who came along, including a number of keen young helpers. Thanks too to Thomas and Robert from Open Orchard who shared their expertise and tools.

We planted a mini-orchard in the grass area between Ponton House and Coburg Crescent. We also planted trees on Bushell Close, on Palace Road outside Ponton House, and on Coburg Crescent outside Despard House.

Creating the new orchard
Bushell Close

The apple trees are a range of different varieties, with some great names: Nuvar Freckles, Nuvar Golden Hills, Sunset, Kidd’s Orange Red, Laxton’s Superb, Self-Fertile Cox, Sweet Society and Bountiful.

The different varieties will produce apples with different delicious flavours, which will be ready to pick at different times. We will need to be patient though as it will be a couple of years before there is fruit which we can pick to eat.

PRERA purchased the trees from Keepers Nursery and you can read more about the different varieties on their website.

A new tree going in – good teamwork

Many thanks to the following people and organisations who helped to make the planting day a success:

  • Open Orchard
  • Gerry, the Friends Group Coordinator for Palace Road Nature Garden, for lending us a wheelbarrow and trolley and donating woodchip
  • Lambeth Landscapes / Lambeth Council for donating wooden stakes
  • Keepers Nursery for their advice about selecting trees and about how to store them before planting.

During the summer, the apple trees will need plenty of water. If you would like to help with watering, do get in touch if you haven’t already done so (email contact@prera.org.uk). Watering cans can be provided.

Fruit tree planting: Saturday 22nd February, 11am to 3pm

PRERA and Open Orchard are working together to plant more fruit trees on Palace Road Estate. Do come and join in with the planting. See the poster below for further details.

Poster

In time, the trees will provide residents with a source of healthy, local, fresh produce. We’ll be planting a range of varieties of apple, many of which you’re unlikely to find in local supermarkets.

If you’re not able to make it to this planting event but you’d like to help look after the new trees, do get in touch (email contact@prera.org.uk). The trees are going to need plenty of water through the spring and summer. In due course they will also need some pruning. Training can be arranged.

Would you be interested in getting involved in other food growing and gardening projects on the estate? If so, do get in touch (email contact@prera.org.uk). As a community organisation, PRERA can apply for funding and other resources for such projects.

Palace Road Estate in bloom

Parts of the estate burst into colour yesterday, thanks to Pinnacle who came to plant four areas with flowers.

The planting was an apology from Pinnacle who had mowed areas where residents had planted snowdrops. These flowers are perennials, so residents should be able to enjoy colourful displays in winter/spring for many years to come.

The bank between Coburg Crescent and the South Circular is also looking beautiful with its regular display of crocuses.

Fruit trees: past, present and future

Many thanks to the Open Orchard Project who visited the estate last week to help care for our young fruit trees. They will be back again on Saturday 22nd February to help plant more fruit trees on the estate. Do join us for this community planting event.

A little bit of history

Where Palace Road Estate is now, there used to be large detached houses with their own gardens. Some of the trees on the estate, including pear, plum and cherry trees are from these former gardens. Over the years, the fruit trees have become rather old and tall and the fruit is difficult to reach.

Caring for our young fruit trees

In early 2014, volunteers worked with Open Orchard to plant 10 new fruit trees across the estate. Robert and Thomas from Open Orchard visited the estate last week (and back in November) to help care for these young fruit trees.

Last week, they worked with a couple of residents to:

  • prune the trees to improve their shape and encourage healthy growth
  • remove grass from around the trees to reduce competition for water and nutrients
  • add leaves to suppress weeds and help to enrich the soil
  • re-secure the protective cages
  • move a young cherry tree which was in the way of the children’s slide to a better location nearby.
Work in progress on frosty ground
The finished scene

Planting more fruit trees and getting involved

Open Orchard and PRERA are working together to plant more fruit trees on the estate. Do join us on Saturday 22nd February 2020 to help with the planting. More details about the event will be available shortly on this blog and on posters on the estate noticeboards.

By planting fruit trees on the estate, and looking after them, we’ll have a source of locally grown fresh fruit for many years to come. Trees also bring a range of environmental benefits – we’ll cover these in a future blog post. After the trees have been planted, the main thing we’ll need to do is to keep them well watered. In due course, the trees will also need the type of care outlined above. If you’re interested in helping to look after the fruit trees on the estate, do let us know. Training can be arranged.

Happy workers!

Maintaining our fruit trees

Many thanks to Robert and Thomas from the Open Orchard Project who kindly dropped by the estate this morning to care for some of our young fruit trees. They pruned the trees to improve their shape and to encourage healthy growth, they topped up the soil and they re-secured the protective cages.

Robert and Thomas are keen to collaborate with residents to come up with an ongoing maintenance programme for our young fruit trees. This will help to ensure that the trees are strong and healthy. If you would like to be involved with this, do get in touch with PRERA.

Raised bed maintenance

The raised beds sitting on the garages outside Baly, Ponton and Despard Houses are still not being maintained by Pinnacle PSG, so volunteers have been out weeding. Would you like to help? It doesn’t take long, and they look so much better afterwards. Contact us, if you would like company, or just get stuck in!

A volunteer clears weeds as Despard House on Monday

Planting day

What a day! We planted hundreds of pot plants and bulbs all over the estate, in flower beds and planters and around trees. They don’t look like much at the moment, but, come the summer, the estate should be a riot of colour.

We planted geraniums, nepetas, heucheras, asters, campanulas, phlox, gaillardia, heleniums, snow drops and bluebells. You can make sure that these survive until the summer by watering them, if they are near to where you live.

Thank you to everyone who came to help, particularly Dot, Taye and Mark from Urban Growth.

Community planting day

On 31st March Urban Growth will be coming to the estate to help us brighten it up with new plants and flowers. Drop by and join in at any time between 10am and 3pm.

We will be meeting at 10am by the playground. The planting will take place at various locations around the estate, so if you arrive later in the day, have a walk around and you will find us.

Gardening news

The crocuses are blooming and the daffodils are hot of their heals – spring must be just around the corner!

There are some beautiful flowers around the estate, but we are sure that parts of the estate could still do with brightening up, so we have been in discussions with Urban Growth about doing some more planting. Ideas have included summer bulbs and a wildflower meadow. Let us know if you’d like to get involved with the planting, or if you have any ideas about what we should plant.