28 July 2016

Montpelier Orchard…Work in Progress

The difference that this beneficial community space can make to our neighborhood is significant! Plus a community orchard is a really special place (to get organic food). From it's inception, it was an audacious idea. However, once the idea guy left, the orchard went to pot. After we bought the house, a couple neighbors helped to weed the area and plant additional trees into the orchard. At one point in the 2.5 years since we bought and got involved, hubby and I were the only folks taking part in the planting and upkeep of this double lot.
(Click on image thumbnails to view full-size)

Today, it's still going strong, and more folks are getting and planning to get involved. It's a work in progress, and a worthwhile endeavor!

2012  'Street View' of the orchard a few years after the start.

2014 Shortly after we moved in to our house, the orchard was overgrown (and probably full of snakes). The gent who started the work in the community space, years earlier, took a a position abroad. Because of his absence--and lack of tangible community buy-in, no one really took up the slack. It's unfortunate when these things happen, but it's often part of the inner city saga. Maybe there could have been more partnerships at the inception, maybe some of the residents of the street on which the orchard sits could have stepped up, maybe maybe maybe. Either way, this is what I saw when we bought the house.

Within months of moving in I walked over there and begin hacking way at the weeds. Funnily enough, so did a few of my neighbors!

2015 Fall  The following summer, the perennial herbs and flowers that I planted came back…this is a side-view of my modest herb garden. Lavender, sage, thyme, basil, rosemary, echinacea and a few other flowers made a lovely return. Neighbors planted vegetables on the opposite side, and several of us volunteered to plant fruit trees within the orchard space. It was a challenge keeping the grass down, but we somehow managed that too...whew

2016 Today-ish (herbs and flowers growing out front) It's still a work in progress, but I'm happy to see perennials coming back again this season. Sadly, the neighbors who made such a beautiful and productive vegetable garden along the left-front of the orchard have moved away. So I took up the mantle--with significantly less success. I'm slowly moving perennials and flowering fall plants into the left, and hope to set up a full garlic bed come fall...

2016 (today-ish) Inside the orchard, fruit trees are growing and thriving…it'll be a few years before we see persimmons and full-sized asian pears. However, we have some magnificently productive sour cherry and peach trees that have afforded me the luxury of several cobblers this season.

One other boon to the upkeep of the orchard, is Rob the landscaper. This man is a meticulous weeder and pruner. While he does not live in our area, hubby and I have found his services invaluable in keeping weeds at bey inside the orchard and his prices more than reasonable. And he's one heck of a nice guy!