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Centenary Tree Planting 01.11.20

Date posted: Thursday 5th November 2020

Centenary Tree Planting 01.11.20

Some good news amid the general despondency re another lockdown and uncertain US election results – the planting of a new tree to commemorate our centenary next year! This is a crab apple, John Downie with white blossom and red and yellow fruit, chosen by Ruth as good for wildlife and for jelly makers.g On Sunday 1st November the centenary team, Bob, Gill and I turned up to meet Ruth and to admire the huge, deep hole dug by Bob in preparation for the tree planting.

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Bob, Ruth and Jem did all the heavy spade work while I relayed a video of advice on how to plant a crab apple, courtesy of Monty Don. There was some querying about which way to position the tree but all was resolved and the infill was finished off with wood chip. David joined us for the last leg of the proceedings and the celebratory glass of fizz (non alcoholic!)

As part of the centenary we’ll also be enhancing this area into an attractive and welcoming place with a bench and possibly a bird bath for all plotholders and visitors. Here’s what Gill said about our this excellent project:

‘Earlier in the year I think the whole RPA community was saddened to see that the ornamental apple tree had died – including the birds that enjoyed surveying the site from its branches. It had been planted on the corner facing the entrance gate in 1978, to commemorate the Silver Jubilee, and its canopy of white blossom was a beautiful and welcoming sight. The committee have been working on ideas to commemorate the RPA’s Centenary next year and one suggestion was to replace the original ornamental apple with a new tree. The restoration and improvement of the area where the tree is located hopefully will be a tribute to the past 100 years and give something for future generations of plotholders to enjoy for the next 40!

A good team is made up of enthusiastic people who have different passions, and the four people who took on this project made Sunday 1st November 2020, an occasion for the grand planting of a new tree. Bob McIntyre started by digging a hole to test the earth in that area and once it was established that it was suitable, Ruth Walker was asked to join us to bring her knowledge of trees to the project by recommending a suitable variety that would enhance the site. The old tree was an ornamental apple: the new one is a crab apple, variety John Downie, chosen for its potential mature height, white blossom and red and yellow fruit that will be good for the birds, bees and other pollinators – and for jelly making.

The Centenary isn’t until next year, but the supply of trees of a reasonable size from nurseries had almost sold out because this is the ideal time for planting, so we decided to do it now. There will be a ‘ceremonial’ occasion next year when we can have a formal ‘opening’, and in the meantime, please give it all your kind words to help it establish and flourish!

The improvement to the space will continue next year as we aim to make it an attractive and welcoming community meeting space, so the area is roped off, and parking on that corner is no longer possible.

The Centenary Tree team is: Bob McIntyre; Gill Hiley; Jenny Bourne and Ruth Walker; always with reference to RPA Chair, David Harnden for his approval (or to curtail any wilder ideas).’