It was a moment we had long been waiting for. Over the years we had to remove a number of our fruit trees in Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard. One of our paw paw trees died this past winter. And in 2015 and 2016 a cherry and apricot tree had bacterial canker and we had to dig them out to prevent this problem from spreading to other trees.
But this year, thanks to donations from our wonderful friends, families and neighbours, we were able to afford to buy three replacement trees to plant in our orchard and that’s what we did recently in our park.
The trees arrived, bare root, direct from a specialist fruit tree nursery. And bare root trees, which are dormant, need to be planted right away. If the tree emerges from dormancy before planting (you can see that if the buds start breaking open) then that tree may not survive.
When the trees arrived on a Thursday, and the cherry and apricot looked just about ready to emerge from dormancy, I went with Sherry to the park and we planted those two young trees. We saved the new plum tree to be planted during our stewardship day the following weekend.
It was a busy stewardship day with eight volunteers coming to help plant the trees and care for the pollinator garden. Then a new girl in town…a toddler called Annie…came with her dad to help us plant the tree. She spent a while playing in the dirt and then the heavy diggers moved in – Janina, Alex and Giselle. They did the rest of the work.
At the end of stewardship we had lots to celebrate! We had three replacement fruit trees in the ground (If you want to see a full list of our trees you can find it here) and we also were celebrating two of our newer volunteers. Thanks to our wonderful donors from the community, we were able to buy 6 more volunteer t-shirts that we give to volunteers who come and join us in the park for at least three stewardship sessions.
And thanks to our local printers Print Plus Sign for giving us a discount on our t-shirts. They did a great job and we love to support this great local business. Janina and Rafaela tried on their t-shirts and we celebrated by sharing some delicious banana bread that Rafaela brought to share. We have more t-shirts for other volunteers who have been regulars for a while! You’ll get yours the next time you join us for a stewardship day!
Now, on that note, we are getting excited because coming up on July 23, 2017 at 11.30 we are going to have a little “Coffee in the Garden” event for the volunteers and our friends in the community. We’ll have free coffee, donated by Starbucks, and hope you’ll bring some treats to share and a donation for our park so we can afford some new plants and mulch for next year. Save the date! More about that soon…
Susan Poizner is the coordinator of the Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard in Toronto. She is the author of the award-winning fruit tree care book Growing Urban Orchards , she teaches fruit tree care workshops online at www.orchardpeople.com/workshops and she is the host of the Urban Forestry Radio Show and Podcast at www.orchardpeople.com/podcast.