Bridport Community Orchard A community-based project

St Mary's Field working sessions
July - December 2017

Click the image on the left to enlarge and scroll through (4 slides). Photos: David Hawkins
Sunday 11th July: (thanks to Paul Arthur)
Fifteen volunteers put in a lot of hard work on a beautifully sunny, hot morning to complete a range of tasks, leaving the orchard looking in tip top shape! Completed jobs were:
All tree circles were mowed, along with the strips of grass either side of the main paved path
Fruit was thinned on many trees
Cordons were weeded
The Cornish Aromatic, and at least one other tree, were staked with new chestnut stakes that Malcolm had collected during the week
Brambles were trimmed back from around the pond and decking area
Shrubs were trimmed back from around the gate that leads into the wildlife area
Some algae was removed from the pond
One compost bay was (partially) emptied, ready to receive recently cut grass
Large area to south of hawthorn tree (previously identified by Nick) was scythed, and all grass removed and added to large pile to the right of the compost bays.
Friday 7th July: Scything at St Mary's Field, 6.30 a.m. (Thanks to Paul Arthur)
We had an extremely successful scything session this morning. The weather was superb, with not a breath of wind and plenty of sunshine. As the temperature rose, so the butterflies and grasshoppers became ever more active; a joy to see!
We scythed the whole of the eastern portion of the meadow area, i.e. on the church side of the path that runs north to south just this side of the hawthorn tree. We also started the area to the south of the hawthorn tree. We probably covered about 75% of all the grass we wish to scythe this year. We left a couple of small areas of standing grass for the wildlife to enjoy. We raked up about two thirds of the cut grass, with the remainder being left to dry and for the scattering of any seeds. We had a rotation of seven people on the scythes, and the two on grass collection did a valiant job! Jill provided a wonderful and much appreciated breakfast of bacon, sausages, veggie sausages, rolls, fruit and tea and coffee. The sustenance was essential to keep us going until our conclusion at about 10 a.m. We had many compliments from passers-by.
Overall, a very successful morning. Contrary to earlier thoughts, Nick and I concluded that we shouldn’t be mowing the scythed area with our petrol mower yet, maybe not for another month, to enable it to ‘green up’ a bit. So for our work party on Sunday, we should have a small band of people scything as much of the remainder of standing grass near the hawthorn as we can manage, but leaving a small area for invertebrates to enjoy. We can then use the mower to cut the usual circles around the trees.
During the course of our activities we found one fully grown frog, which got away completely unscathed!