11th Dec, 2016

Residents get stuck in at free pruning workshop in Sheldon

Shaun Reynolds 11th Mar, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

STUDENTS, park rangers and members of the Sheldon community got stuck into a spot of pruning on Monday (March 7) afternoon.

Hosted at Sheldon Country Park, the free workshop took place in the community orchard and was overseen by Helping Britain Blossom – which is supporting the area to maintain the orchard.

The project was run by West Midlands fruit tree specialist Wade Muggleton, who offered tips and advice to the 20 people that attended the fruit tree maintenance workshop.

The 26 tree community orchard

11 new cherry, plum, pear and apple trees were planted at the orchard last month and Rob Tilling, Helping Britain Blossom project manager said those that attended learned a great deal about pruning.

He added: “It’s important to come together at this time of year whatever the weather to prune the trees to ensure they bear a decent crop of fruit in the year ahead.

“The trees in the park have now been left in great condition for the coming season and will supply the community with fruit to enjoy.

“We all left with a sense of achievement, having enjoyed doing something active in support of a common cause.

“All in all, a great day was had by everyone.”

85-year-old Vic Yeomans is a friend of Sheldon Country Park and helps maintain the national bonsai collection at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Vic said: “I was delighted to get involved with the Sheldon Country Park community orchard as I have helped with the park since 2011 and am interested in finding out about fruit trees.

“I’ve already been on a course put on by Helping Britain Blossom a few weeks ago where we learnt about caring for the trees and the different varieties of apples, pears and cherries we’ve since gone on to plant.

“Now when park visitors look through the gates and the trees are in bloom they’ll see beautiful blossom on either side.

“Once the trees are established we’ll put on events as people are more likely to get involved when there is something to see and do.

“For me, the benefits of helping with the orchard are that you’re learning all the time and it keeps me active.”

Birmingham City Council’s head of parks, Darren Share MBE, said: “It’s great to see our Friends of Parks groups working with partners in the wider community to green up the city and educate people about the joy of growing.

“The park is home to a restored  17th century farm which has Jersey cattle, pigs, goats, ponies, ducks, chickens, geese and staff to demonstrate the traditional methods of farming.

“The addition of 11 new fruit trees will further enrich the experience for visitors and volunteers alike.”

If you want to join in events at the Sheldon Country Park, visit www.helpingbritainblossom.org.uk or become a friend of Helping Britain Blossom on Facebook.