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Southall orchard planting - Featherstone High

Get planting at Southall’s new orchard

Work has started on planting the new orchard at Southall Recreation Grounds. And now you can go along tomorrow (Saturday, 4 March) to help finish it off.

The Southall Orchard Project aims to plant at least five fruiting orchards in public places by 2020. The first of these was planted in Southall Park between December 2015 and March 2016 and includes trees and hedges bearing fruit and nuts.

On Wednesday (1 March), Featherstone High School students, pupils from Clifton Primary School and youngsters from Greenfields Nursery and their parents all came together to help plant the first fruit trees – as you can see on these pictures (with thanks to Featherstone High).

Featherstone High pupils help plant the first trees, while park ranger James Morton explains the project to children and parents
Featherstone High pupils help plant the first trees, while park ranger James Morton explains the project to children and parents

The work will continue tomorrow (Saturday, 4 March) and hopefully be finished during a public planting day between 10am-3pm. All volunteers are welcome to come down and muck in. The plan is for around 45 fruit trees to go in, along with hedges.

Community group Southall Transition is leading the orchard project, with the help of Ealing Council’s park rangers.

One of the rangers, James Morton, spoke to everyone at the first planting day to tell them more about the project and then explained how to plant the trees. Everybody there on Wednesday worked together to bash in the posts, lift the trees in and cover their roots. The children were not afraid to get their hands dirty either.

James said: “We are improving the environment and providing free fruit foraging and food for wildlife. It is great to see the local community children and parents so engaged with the space. They are all important stakeholders.”

The older students from Featherstone helped the younger children. Sabiqua in Year 9 said: “It’s nice to be outside with the little children and to see them so engaged.” Fatima in Year 10 said: “It’s great to get involved and to make a difference to the community.”

Mani Dhanda, Southall Transition’s project lead on the orchards, said: “The children showed a great deal of enthusiasm and did a terrific job of getting the new orchard under way. We trust the whole community will enjoy the benefits of these orchards for years to come.

“It was particularly encouraging to see the older students taking an interest and getting stuck in.”

Encouraging residents to come along on Saturday, Mani added: “People have only to turn up. Tools and refreshments will be provided. We recommend wearing sturdy footwear and dressing appropriately for the weather. No experience is needed because volunteers will be operating under the expert guidance of the Ealing Council park rangers. These events are great fun.”

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