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.
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
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Fruiting trees, bushes and vines planted at HOCO
(those marked* are no longer with us)
|Apricot: Golden Glow*
|Cherry: Lapins; Nabla
|Beauty of Bath
|Pitmaston Pine Apple
|Pomeroy of Somerset
|Greengage: Denniston’s Superb; Early Transparent; Old Gage
|Plum: Avalon; Blue Tit; Framptom Magnum; Heron; Kirke’s Blue, Opal
|Court Pendu Plat
|Wild Damson Bullace
|Roundway Magnum Bonum
|St Edmund’s Pippin
|Cobnut: Cosford Cob; Nottingham
|Tydeman’s Early Worcester
|Other Fruiting Trees
|Evereste (crab apple)
|Tydeman’s Late Orange
|Chinese False Quince
|Unconfirmed – perhaps Bell
|Fig: Brown Turkey
|Gilliflower of Gloucester
|Unconfirmed – perhaps Somerset
|Quince: Meech’s Prolific
|Golden Hill Pippin
|Sorbus: Avon Gorge
|Soft Fruit & Vines
|Blackcurrant: Ben Lomond
|Asian Pear: Shinseiki
|Baronne de Mello
|Gooseberry: Hinnonmaki Green, Red, Yellow
|Kidd’s Orange Red
|Grape: Perlette; Queen of Esther
|King of the Pippins
|Raspberry: Autumn Amber
|Mere de Menage
|Red currant: Red Lake
|Rhubarb: Champagne; Timperley Early
|White currant: White Versailles