Milngavie Orchard is now officially open

Headteacher Linda Murphy officially opened Milngavie Orchard.
Headteacher Linda Murphy officially opened Milngavie Orchard.

A new orchard at Milngavie Primary School was officially opened on Saturday, May 20 by retiring headteacher Linda Murphy.

The project utilises wasteground around the football pitch and was funded by a £12,000 grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme.

The ground has been transformed by a team of volunteers over the past year, including members of gardening group Milngavie In Bloom.

Ms Murphy cut the first ribbon on the main gate to the orchard and revealed the name the children had chosen ‘Once Upon An Orchard’ by unrolling a sign.

Primary 7 teacher Caroline McElney cut the ribbon on the gate to the avenue of pear and apple trees, project manager, Anne Madsen, opened the polytunnel and nursery teacher Kate Cameron cut the ribbon on the new gate through to the nursery and the garden.

The nursery children carefully placed some painted lady butterflies on to the flowering bushes that they have watched grow from tiny caterpillars.

Kate Cameron said: “Everyone who came to the opening had a guided tour ending up going through a covered area created by hanging lovely coloured sails, and down through the school garden which is now linked to the orchard by a new gate.

“Our orchard has been carefully planned to provide a habitat for a wide variety of wild life and our children are learning how the plants need to be pollinated by bees and butterflies, to be able to grow fruit.”

Emma Halliday from Groundworks charity, which helps communities to transform wasteground, and Tesco’s new community champion and manager Clare Shriver and Thomas banks were very impressed with how much they had managed to buy with the £12,000 budget.

Kate added: “This was all only possible because all the work was done by volunteers.

“They not only cleared the ground, fenced it, prepared the very rocky soil and planted hundreds of new plants, but they also constructed a polytunnel, shed, compost bins, paths and gates and even installed CCTV.

“Hundreds of man, woman (and child) hours have made our orchard a real community project and the beautiful, productive space it is today.

“A huge thank you to everyone who came along to the opening - it was a really special event.

“This space will be a legacy for future generations to enjoy.”