From the vandalism an orchard grows, planted by the community for the community – a symbolic show of hope and resilience.
In response to vandalism in Bute Park in September 2021, the community came together and an idea for a community orchard in Bute Park was born.
The orchard will:
- Be an environmentally-friendly and visible response for everyone who lives in or visits the city. A statement of hope supporting the well-being of future generations
- Be an educational resource
- Improve biodiversity
- Connect the community & give back to the people of Cardiff
- Offer free edible fruits for people to harvest
- Provide a fun and useful resource for engaging the community, including the relaunched Friends of Bute Park group, but with minimal cost to the Council.
- Contribute to the Council’s Coed Caerdydd project by increasing tree canopy coverage
The project is in its planning phase and meetings are taking place throughout summer 2022 between the Bute Park Manager, the Bute Park Community Orchard Steering Group and the council’s Coed Caerdydd urban forest project, regarding concept design, and species selection and sourcing.
On Saturday 2nd July a “bio blitz” was held at the main orchard site, which is located beyond the top of Blackweir playing fields in the northeast part of the park. Species were recorded and the results will help us monitor the site’s baseline biodiversity and the positive impacts we hope the orchard will have.
Soil samples were taken to more accurately identify planting conditions in the two selected planting locations and this will help with species selection.
The vision so far:
- To reflect the history of Bute Park, complementing & enhancing pre-existing planting by using Welsh Heritage fruit trees where possible, as well as rare & significant varieties, with a few of Pettigrew’s apples, pears and plums added in for historical connections.
- To utilise forest garden techniques & methodologies, incorporating wildflower planting to boost biodiversity, encourage wildlife and increase yields. These techniques will help the orchard become an extension of the hazel coppice and woodland area it sits alongside.
- To replicate some of Pettigrew’s original maintenance methods. He favoured the more natural approach to maintaining orchards with no rigorous pruning, the orchards he planted at Bute Park and Cathay’s Park were among some of the best in the UK.
- To use organic, permaculture-based techniques, with no spraying, or use of pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers.
- To include sculpture and outdoor play, as well as the addition of illustration and art.
- To keep an area in the middle of the orchard clear for people to sit and have quiet enjoyment, as well as being able to use this space for classes/workshops/events.
It’s important to us that this orchard is for the community by the community, so the next steps are all about bringing the community together and getting people involved.
There will be a series of public get-togethers where we’d love to chat all things orchard, share design ideas, and hear people’s ideas
The orchard project aims to be welcoming, inclusive and relaxed, with options for everyone to join in where possible.
These get-togethers will be held in Bute Park Visitor Centre, as well as out in the community. Dates etc. to be confirmed soon.
- Help enhance Bute Park’s new community orchards through the latest Bute Park improvement scheme “Community Orchard Enhancements“. There will be two orchard locations: a main one to the north of Blackweir playing fields, and a smaller one adjacent to the historic ‘Orchard Lawn’. The smaller site, will provide the ideal location to introduce park visitors to the benefits of orchards and signpost them to the larger site.
This blog post is co-authored by the Bute Park Community Orchard Steering Group and the Bute Park Management Team.
First published July 2022
Last updated July 2022