The Orchard

Orchards are grafted by human culture in relationship with nature. People began cultivating fruit trees several thousand years ago. Humans have domesticated wild trees through selection and breeding. These fruit trees rely on our care to flourish.

When Horfield Organic Community Orchard (HOCO) began in 1998, a handful of established trees were already growing on the site. Since then, more than 100 fruiting trees, bushes and vines have been planted. Like many projects with a passion, our ambitions were greater than our experience. Too many trees were planted too close together! Not everything has survived or thrived. Since 2018, growing season drought and extreme heat has taken a toll on the tress, making it more challenging to care for the orchard.

HOCO is home to more than 50 apples, 8 pears, 10 plums, as well as grapevines, cobnuts, a medlar and quince. See the list below. Varieties were chosen for qualities such as their season, exceptional flavour and keeping, and disease tolerance. Others were raised in the counties around Bristol, for example the Ashmead’s Kernel from Gloucester, or Pomeroy of Somerset. Few of these fruits are grown commercially – they won’t be found in a supermarket. Growing them celebrates and protects genetic diversity, and connects us with the rich tradition of fruit growing in the British Isles.

The different forms our trees take is another joy. They may reflect the fruiting habit or the natural vigour of a variety. Training, through pruning and branch manipulation, makes trees more compact and fruitful. The trees in the Home Orchard Plot are kept to a manageable size by rootstock choice and pruning.

Our orchard is a living project. Trees make new growth every year – buds, blossoms, leaves, shoots, and fruits. They may be rooted in one place, but they are always seeking the sun and forming new networks in the soil.

Home Orchard Plot (HOP)

This 10 metre by 4 metre area was designed and created by HOCO members in 2016. It shows ways to grow and care for fruit in the small spaces available to urban fruit growers. The project was part-funded by grant from the Bishopston, Cotham & Redland Neighbourhood Partnership Wellbeing Fund.

See our Gallery of photos of our activities.

Facilities

The orchard has an open shelter, storage sheds, and a compost loo. The ground is rough and uneven – which affects access to some areas.

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Find where the orchard is here

Contact Us here.

Fruiting trees, bushes and vines planted at HOCO
(those marked* are no longer with us)

AppleAppleStone Fruit
Adams’s PearmainNonpareilApricot: Golden Glow*
Ashmead’s KernelOrleans ReinetteCherry: Lapins; Nabla
Beauty of BathPitmaston Pine AppleDamson: Merryweather
Blenheim OrangePomeroy of SomersetGreengage: Denniston’s Superb; Early Transparent; Old Gage
Brownlee’s RussettRed PippinPlum: Avalon; Blue Tit; Framptom Magnum; Heron; Kirke’s Blue, Opal
Court Pendu PlatRibston Pippin Wild Damson Bullace
D’Arcy SpiceRoundway Magnum Bonum
DiscoveryRubinetteNut trees
Downton PippinSt Edmund’s PippinCobnut: Cosford Cob; Nottingham
Frederick (cider)SanspareilWalnut: Buccaneer*
Egremont RussettSweet Society 
Ellison’s OrangeTydeman’s Early WorcesterOther Fruiting Trees
Evereste (crab apple)Tydeman’s Late OrangeChinese False Quince
George CaveUnconfirmed – perhaps BellFig: Brown Turkey
Gilliflower of GloucesterUnconfirmed – perhaps SomersetQuince: Meech’s Prolific
Goucestershire UnderleafWinstonMedlar: Dutch
Golden Hill PippinWinter GemSorbus: Avon Gorge
GreensleevesWorcester Pearmain 
Herefordshire Beefing Soft Fruit & Vines
James GrievePearBlackcurrant: Ben Lomond
JoanetingAsian Pear: ShinseikiBlueberry: Sunshine
Katy*Baronne de MelloGooseberry: Hinnonmaki Green, Red, Yellow
Kidd’s Orange RedBethGrape: Perlette; Queen of Esther
King of the PippinsConcordeJostaberry
Lord LambourneFondante d’AutomneRaspberry: Autumn Amber
Mere de MenageJargonelleRed currant: Red Lake
Morgan’s Sweet*OnwardRhubarb: Champagne; Timperley Early
 Winter NelisWhite currant: White Versailles
Ellison’s Orange
King of the Pippins
Beauty of Bath
Beth
Opal
Medlar