On Wednesday 20th July, nearly 40 members were delighted to welcome Daniel Ackerley who gave an inspiring talk on Creating an Orchard. Daniel, a mature student at Reaseheath College, was a runner up in The Conservation Foundations "Gardening Against the Odds" Awards.
His talk explained how he purchased and developed a two acre plot near the river Dee in Farndon into a thriving Orchard despite the land being flooded with up to six feet of water during the winter.
Conquering the numerous hazards, including rabbits, voles, badgers and "Fly Tippers", the plot is now planted with unusual and heritage varieties of fruit trees including apples, pears, plums, quince, mulberries, walnuts and hazelnuts, some dating back to Roman times.
Basically, Daniel explained, "I'm trying to retain the vestige of a medieval field system, which is surrounded by modern agriculture".
Passionately interested in conservation and Garden History, he decided to go ahead with his orchard once he realised that a similar scheme nearby had been successful centuries ago despite being regularly flooded.
He said "Having an underwater orchard might seem a bit strange but the knowledge that it's worked in the past gave me the confidence to go ahead. My college course has enabled me to carry out the project scientifically and in a structured way, using both traditional and modern techniques".
The audience were gripped and enthralled by Daniel's enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to the project which no doubt contributed to him winning his award.
After his talk, Daniel continued to answer questions, and expand on various points in his talk. Such was his enthusiasm, and the interest of the Members, he didn't even manage to drink his tea!!
Thanking Dan on behalf of the members, John Whiteley said that his commitment to his project was fantastic, and example to us all.