Orchard Ideas Lab on 21 June, a day with people from local communities of Exwick & St Thomas & the Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency & Exeter City Council considering the possibilities of the project and feeding in local knowledge and ideas.
A scorching hot day for our Orchard Ideas Lab which involved walking the route with sun hats, multiple water bottles and sun-umbrellas. People shared all sorts of ideas, wisdom and observations. Our trip included the siting of a red kite, the viewing of a sea lamprey spawning site and a deer tick tucking into Nigel’s red blood cells while we all enjoyed a pint at the Double Locks. We started at Exwick Community Hall and stopped half way through the day at the Quay House to share a lunch provided by Boatyard Bakery and have some reflection time. Ideas shared have been drawn into the planting plan which I have created for the Environment Agency Landscape Architect who is reconfiguring the designs to include multiple varieties of edible trees and hedgerow fruits and nuts.
The plan includes local heritage varieties as well as more unusual varieties from further afield and overseas. This includes Loquats, which I recently found growing and fruiting successfully at Exeter University’s Streatham Campus. The route is looking into a changing climate and considering what might be growing here in 50+ years time given climate change predictions. The route is designed with insects, birds and humans in mind and with certain trees acting as markers through the route as well as different planting emphasis in different areas. If you would like to see the plans for the route please get in touch.
The Orchard Ideas Lab also gave people the opportunity to have some time to consider what might be planted on the route, to create their own visions for the route and to gather inspiration. This came from the past (for example Samuel Hartlib’s Designe For Plentie (1600s) on the Plantation & Culture of Orchards a treatise ‘to turne the most hopelesse Willdernes, on a suddaine, into a rich & beautifull paradyse‘ or Henry Thoreau on cherries from The Succession of Forest Trees; conversations with each other and the work of artists. As part of the day we were able to display Amy Shelton’s new artwork for this project, a collaboration for the Orchard Box consisting of mounted slides of pressed blossom samples, collected in Exeter and surroundings from many of the plants that are being chosen to form part of the route.
We ended the day at the Double Locks pub where we had a short discussion around how the project might develop and what we might each want to share and gain from it. This is Emily (Wildlife Trust) examining the tick that is attached to Nigel’s leg through bionoculars!
A couple of comment from participants reflecting on the day:
wanted to thank you for such a great event yesterday. Some brilliant people from the community on board, and it really is exciting to think about how this project will evolve
thanks for a really interesting day at the ideas Lab. It is a really exciting project and it will be a wonderful legacy