One of the region’s first community orchards has been officially handed over to residents today.
18 months after the orchard was officially launched with a ceremonial planting of the first fruit trees, the orchard is now ready to be nurtured and used by residents of the new community.
TV gardeners, Carole Baxter and George Anderson, took part in the official hand-over with plenty of tips for budding gardeners and those looking to grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs for eating.
Having been highly involved in Scottish gardening for over 40 years, both gardeners have taken up important roles in Scotland’s Garden Scheme, the Royal Horticulture Society and Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.
As part of the official handover on Saturday, the green-fingered pair created engaging gardening activities with local primary children, including the design of a recipe book based on the herbs and fruit grown on site. The youngsters were also asked to design and draw their very own ‘Countesswells Flower’. The art project, split across junior and senior years, was judged by Carole and George with five-year old Joshua McGarvey and nine-year old Joseph Allan, picking up the top prize in each of their age groups.
As a growing community with a strong focus on creating active green space, local wildlife and biodiversity, the community orchard, is unlike any other project of its kind in the country, helping to promote Countesswells as one of the greenest, most community-oriented places to live in the North-east of Scotland.
Offering a focal point for the community to come together, as well as helping to promote the health and sustainability benefits of growing fresh produce and outdoor living, the community project has been welcomed by the neighbourhood.
With summer approaching and temperatures heating up, the handover of the orchard comes at an ideal time for residents, who are encouraged to grow, pick and eat their own food.
Ms Baxter said: “The Countesswells orchard is an incredibly unique project, it’s a great way in helping to develop local wildlife and increase awareness of gardening through not only Countesswells but the North-east of Scotland.
“There is something very special about having a community garden on your own doorstep. The fact that families and friends can grow and pick a variety of fruits and herbs is a fantastic way for the local community to come together and share a passion for gardening and the great outdoors.
“I’m honoured to have been involved in the official opening and now the handover of the orchard and commend the developers behind Countesswells for promoting and developing greenspace and community gardening across this magnificent site.”