On Monday afternoon, June 1, saplings were planted near Virden Junior High School. Not shelterbelt trees, these were fruit trees that will turn the space near the creek into an urban orchard in years to come.
The idea for the planting there was initiated by Tina Williams, a municipal councillor for Virden and a resident of the neighbourhood.
Williams saw a Tree Canada display at a municipal function she attended. She envisioned a small orchard as an enhancement for this public space where she says many people walk.
“I’d like to have it beside the school,” she said, adding that a daycare (Funshine) is also nearby.
Williams contacted Ryan Canart, Conservation District manager for advice on applying for the trees. The CD took on the project, applying for the trees that they then planted this spring.
Canart explained this donation of fruit trees from Tree Canada is part of that charity’s mandate “to promote community food orchards.”
Among the 50 little trees are several varieties of each species of apricots, plums, and pears with the other trees being varieties of apples.
The CD will install protective fencing to ward off deer. In the years to come wire fencing will be needed around the trees to protect the trunks from beaver.
Don’t expect fruit this year. Canart told Williams that blossoms and any fruit produced this year are best to be nipped off so the saplings will put their energy into establishing their root systems.
As the trees grow up Williams wants to see a public-friendly space there where people can pick the fruit, and where signage about each of the species can be posted.