New orchard planted at Normand Croft
The youngsters at Normand Croft community school in Bramber Road have created a new container garden of 14 fruit trees, to add a splash of green to the urban setting, and continue the school’s biodiversity efforts.
Carpenters from the nearby Olympia exhibition spaces turned up in the pouring rain to help the pupils build deep wooden planters to house the trees.
Then volunteers from nearby Lillie Square joined staff and pupils to fill the planters with soil, via a relay of buckets and wheelbarrows.
“In their classes, all the children took part in a survey to vote on the fruit trees they would prefer,” said the school’s geography teacher and environment co-ordinator Louise Hedley. “We’re very lucky to have a big garden area in the school, and a very active eco team.”
The result was a mix of plum, apple, pear and cherry trees.
On Friday last week, professional tree planters from the Urban Orchard Project showed the young arboriculturalists how to go about bedding in the 14 new saplings, and gave them full instructions on looking after the trees.
The youngsters will have to be patient after giving the new trees bucketfuls of water to help them settle. Fruit trees typically need three or four seasons before they start producing.
Normand Croft is one of the most environmentally active schools in the capital, with its own woodland, pond and hedgerows to encourage wildlife. There are bird feeders, which the children keep topped up.
It already has an allotment area, greenhouse, herb and wildflower beds... and the children keep chickens. When they arrived at school on Monday morning last week, the chicks had laid 10 eggs!