New orchard planted at Sunriver Allotement Garden

  • Apr. 6, 2011 3:00 p.m.

In another significant step toward local agricultural education and food sustainability, the Sooke Region Food CHI Society has begun to develop the next phase of the vibrant Sunriver Allotment Garden located on Philips Road.

On March 26, planting began in the new orchard at the north end of the gardens.

A small group of enthusiastic volunteers, under the guidance and mentorship of local horticulturists Glen Thelin and Clayton Whitney, planted 58 fruit trees. An assortment of apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees were planted.  The trees are being grown to show a variety of pruning styles and techniques, and to provide fresh, healthy produce for local food support programs. More varieties will be planted this fall, including heritage varieties that have been grafted from trees found in old orchards around Sooke.

We hope to share our experience with anyone who is interested in planting, pruning, grafting and maintaining the general health of fruit trees.

To connect, call Glen at 250-642-7906   or email @ glensgardeningco@shaw.ca.

Another goal of the Sunriver Allotment Orchard is to preserve our local  heritage. Some of the very old fruit trees found around the Sooke region are a direct link to our pioneer history. With the sudden explosion of urban expansion we have seen some of the oldest apple trees in B.C. destroyed to make way for new sub-divisions and businesses.

The Lemon Pippin apple trees planted around 1856 on what was the original homestead of Capt W.C Grant were the most recent victims. These trees were healthy, very productive and an invaluable source of scionwood used in the grafting process.

With the federal laws governing the importation of apple trees to Canada it is impossible to reintroduce some varieties. These old trees are our only supply of many very rare cultivars and some are the only trees left in Canada. Once they are gone so is that variety. With that being said, we have slowly been trying to locate and regraft these trees for future generations to enjoy.

Contributed by Glen Thelin

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