Ongoing care and maintenance – the trees continued to thrive over the autumn and winter with little damage caused to the bark by rabbits and other small animals. In fact the rabbits appear to prefer to spring flowers at present.
Most of the bulbs planted by the Staff at Mayfield Garden Centre have survived and we have daffodils, narcissi and tulips bursting into bloom. Any gaps caused by the rabbits will be addressed at the end of spring when the staff at Mayfield will donate any unsold spring plants.
The gladioli continued to bloom well into December and would have won prizes at the local ‘Flower Show’. They were well admired by passers-by and gave us an opportunity to discuss the orchard. Leaves are beginning to appear on the trees and there is evidence of blossom on some.
Many of you will be aware that at the end of April 2020 two of the trees were stolen. The local Police made extensive enquiries but the culprit has not been identified. This theft has been compounded by the Theft of yet another tree early in March this year.
The Borders Tree Planting Trust granted us funding for six more trees in 2021 – two trees to replace the stolen trees and one tree for each of the primary schools so that they can continue the link with the orchard. Following the most recent theft the ensuing publicity throughout the town brought us some good news in the form of a very concerned resident of Kelso who has donated the funds to allow us to replace the third stolen pear tree. His name is Davie Hogarth – Window Cleaner (Retired), whose son Robert was Kelso Laddie in 2009. We are extremely grateful to Davie and it is so encouraging to know that Kelso has public spirited people like Davie who support our town so well, thanks again Davie.
The stolen trees were –
- Apple White Melrose
- Pear Invincible
- Pear Green Pear of Yare
The plan was to replace the trees like for like but we were unable to source an ‘Invincible’ so we have replaced it with a Gourdie Hill tree.
The trees have now been planted and fixed more securely to stakes. Each tree will be surrounded by fencing which we hope will ensure that they are not stolen again.
We have also now had an offer to prune the trees by one of the neighbouring residents.
Trees were delivered to the four primary schools a few days before the end of term and the head teachers were arranging to have the trees planted with some of the pupils in attendance. Photos will follow after the Easter break.
Broomlands – Stobo Castle
Edenside – Oslin Arbroath Pippin
Ednam – Ard Cairn Russet
Sprouston – Bloody Ploughman
Early in 2021 we were successful in applying for the annual Paths and Maintenance Grant which Scottish Borders Council offer via Kelso Community Council. The funds this year have enabled us to put wire netting along the fence adjacent to the glebe field which will act as a deterrent to the rabbits and to create a raised bed in the corner backing on to the manse garden. Mayfield Garden Centre plan to donate wild flower seed to scatters in the bed and it is that once the current pandemic restrictions are eased that the youth groups will take care of the flowers.