Let Open Orchards Blossom All Over Skerries
The Skerries Open Orchards Project is about to put down roots… and is inviting you to join the journey!
What is happening here?!?
If you live close to the large Kelly’s Bay green, you know, the one along Kelly’s Bay Promenade, you may have noticed small groups of people congregating on the triangle just north of the little path.
What was going on, you ask? Well, they were members of a team connected with Sustainable Skerries: The Skerries Open Orchards Project people! And they were scoping out their first open orchard.
Skerries Open Orchards Projects conveniently abbreviates to SkOOP, and the main aim of SkOOP is to let fruit trees blossom all over Skerries, starting in that very spot in Kelly’s Bay.
Planting an idea for change
When an organisation called ChangeX recently offered funding for open orchard projects, a few members of the Sustainable Skerries committee jumped on it and formed SkOOP. We moved fast:
- We have drawn up a plan,
- We have picked our first location, the one in Kelly’s Bay – one of many, we hope – and met a couple of times there,
- We have looked at fruit trees in Ardgillan (on invitation by Dominica McKevitt, head gardener, who thankfully joined SkOOP) and at a small an apartment block in Strand Street, where another of our SkOOP members instigated a mini orchard just last summer,
- We talked to, and met with, Fingal County Council, who have been very supportive, hooray again,
- And we have put information leaflets through the doors of those living closest to the proposed Kelly’s Bay Open Orchard (KBOO – Kay-Booh?) , inviting them to become Tree Guardians.
Ready to start the first Open Orchard
We now have over a dozen Tree Guardians, who will look after the trees especially when they are young, making sure that any prolonged droughts don’t stress them out, that the bases are kept weed free, that any windfall is picked up before it becomes a bother, and so on.
There will also be work parties, starting with preparing the ground for planting, and in the not-too-distant future, when the trees have been established, fruit parties and so on.
All our Guardians will be invited to these parties, as well as the larger group of all those on the Skerries Open Orchards Projects.
And as is the norm with open orchards, the fruit will be there for all to enjoy!
Open orchards, with apples, pears, possibly other fruit trees, and a harvest for all to share, bringing all the benefits which fruit trees have for biodiversity, for improving the local air, for the climate… Every little helps! So here is your opportunity to get involved.
- Do you like this idea of open orchards throughout Skerries?
- Can you see a possible location near your house?
- Would you like to help this effort?
If you answered Yes to one or more of these questions, then just go to SustainableSkerries.com/orchards and join us!
Why start an Open Orchard?
The Skerries Open Orchards Project aims to plant fruit trees in public places in Skerries.
The trees will provide free fruit to local residents and greenery to the open spaces in our town, but there are other benefits too. A newly planted tree will offer some extra pollination opportunities and absorb a small amount of carbon dioxide as well as rainwater that might otherwise have stayed on the surface. And as the trees grow, so do these positive effects.
Of course there are already many fruit trees around the town, but by planting fruit trees on public land, the project is an investment in our shared public space. The trees embellish our greens and provide an opportunity for residents’ groups to work together to protect and nurture them. The trees will start to produce fruit, but it’s the process of caring for them that produces the most important harvest: strengthening our community and improving our public space.
Hans Zomer, SkOOP
This text was written for Skerries News. You may find it in their final edition for 2021 (08/12/2021)!