Frank & Marilyn Gardner opened up Barton Orchard once again for community apple picking days on 30 September and 1st October.
Most of you will know that the orchard is situated within Cirencester Park, tucked away just off the main ride. However even some who regularly jog or walk their dogs here may not be aware of what lies behind the surrounding hedge, how long many of the trees have been there, or the bounty it offers up.
Whilst the weather wasn’t quite up to last year’s standards, there was another excellent crop. A steady flow of customers couldn’t clear the orchard. Many who came were what might now be termed regulars, who look out for the notices advertising the opening. There were still plenty of newcomers however, and lots of families came along, many small children delighted to find that apples don’t just grow on supermarket shelves! The Group is grateful for the public’s donations, which the Gardners generously allow us. Nor is it just that they permit us to hold these weekends – Frank puts up many of the advance notices himself and both Frank and Marilyn spend generous chunks of the weekend greeting and chatting to our visitors.
As well as being allowed to undertake a number of training courses in the orchard over the years, thereby also achieving some pruning and improving, we have also offered some young trees for planting there. However well the old ones do, they cannot last forever.
So, we presented Frank Gardner with a further apple tree – Greensleeves – at the start of December. Whilst the day itself was bright, the inclement recent weather meant that it was impractical to plant it at the time. It was left to Frank to deal with it at a more suitable time to allow the tree the best chance of establishing and developing. How many years from now might it be cropping like many of the old established trees in the orchard? Perhaps in generations to come, some people will think back not only to who originally planted it and how long ago, but also about what those of us have done to help it keep going in between times.