Shire Greens form part of the Shirehampton Community Action Forum, an overarching body which provides communication facilities for community projects. Shire Greens have planted and are looking after a community orchard on the Daisy Field near Shirehampton station. Winter is the time to prune pears and apples so on a Saturday morning early in December neighbours gathered to set about the pruning under instruction from an expert.
During 2015 Shire Greens had applied to Avon Gardens Trust for a grant for some tools. They had been struggling for many years with one pair of secateurs and a borrowed pair of loppers. We were pleased to help the volunteers who look after this long established community orchard. On the day I went along to the pruning session their delight at having the correct tools at last was plain to see. The volunteers were hard at work when I arrived. One pear tree had been transformed and they were starting on a Beauty of Bath apple. Once finished they will be able to reach the fruit more easily at picking time. Plums are pruned in summer so no doubt there will be another gathering.
It was 2002 when neighbours came together as the Daisy Field, a valuable open space, was feared to be threatened with development.
The group received six fruit trees followed by four more in 2003/4 by Bristol City Council Parks Department. Shire Greens not only planted the fruit trees, they planted all the native mixed hedging which shields the Daisy Field from the Portway. Nowadays the Council trims the hedge by machine, but in the early days an initial pruning was carried out by hand with a Pay Back team brought along by one of the Council Officers. (Pay Back is the non-custodial system formerly known as ‘Community Service’).
Shire Greens have also enlivened the platform of Shirehampton station. They filled wooden planters provided by Severnside Rail Partnership with flowers. Following initial disappointment with plants being stolen, Shire Greens now concentrate on native and readily available plants and are having greater success with keeping the plants for all to enjoy.
Community enterprise and enthusiasm are to be applauded and we look forward to our continuing relationship with the Shire Greens.