Is it spring yet?

Have you noticed that the days are getting slowly but steadily longer? Have you managed to drag yourself out of the house into the muddy, windswept and bitterly cold outdoors long enough to spot the first signs of life such as the intrepid snowdrop? If you have poked your head out from beneath your cosy parka hood long enough you will have been rewarded by the first signs of life around you.

The park may look a little muddy and windswept at first glance with very little to get excited about, but on closer inspection, you will notice that things are beginning to awaken, if you look hard enough.

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Snowdrops budding near the sheep fold entrance

It is with the expectation of springtime, daffodils and birdsong, apple pies and butterflies, that I invite you to join the friends as we embark on another project to enhance the little patch of land that we call Parkinson’s park. A popular suggestion by the friends has been the planting of a traditional orchard. Once common, they are now under serious threat and many varieties of fruit are becoming endangered. They are now listed as a Priority Habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. As well as the loss of fruit varieties there is also the wildlife associated with the traditional orchard which needs protecting from funghi and lichen to invertebrates, mammals and birds.

With this in mind, we have purchased a small but carefully chosen selection of fruit trees which we will be planting towards the bottom of the park near Greenshaw Terrace and the Bellway Estate. Part of this area used to be a rose garden but it has since been cleared and compacted by heavy machinery so there is a bit of preparation work to be done. A further area of scrub a bit further up the hill has been cleared where the rest of trees will be planted.

The fruit trees include a selection of apples (eating and cooking), pears and plum trees, all chosen for their local provenance and /or suitability to our slightly damp and windy climate. They have been purchased from Redhill nurseries who are a council run nursery in Leeds.

So please come along with your spade, gloves and flasks of tea on Sunday 8th February from 10 am and join in to help make a bit of history. Hopefully within a few years we can all reap the rewards with our own locally grown apple pies and plum puddings to exhibit at the Guiseley Agricultural show. Ok I made that last bit up but you never know!

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