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Urban orchard takes root on Union Street

London SE1 website team

Volunteers are working to create a temporary orchard on Union Street as part of the London Festival of Architecture - and local residents are encouraged to donate plants and seeds to the project.

Union Street Urban Orchard
Union Street Urban Orchard

The empty plot at 100 Union Street – still fondly remembered as the site of the temporary Southwark Lido created during the 2008 LFA – is now being transformed into the Union Street Urban Orchard.

Designed by Heather Ring of the Wayward Plant Registry and built in collaboration with Bankside Open Spaces Trust, the orchard is intended as a place of exchange between local residents and visitors to the architecture festival.

"It's a landscape of recycled materials that are holding 85 fruit trees and countless other edible plants, says Heather.

"We have a seed library, a greenhouse, a living wall, a tyre garden, a skip transformed into a table tennis table and a railway arch turned into a cinema. It's a space for people to come together as a community garden."

The orchard will be open on weekdays until 19 August as a place for people to relax.

On 3 and 4 July – when the focus of the London Festival of Architecture turns to the Bankside Urban Forest – the orchard will host workshops on biodiversity and urban food growing.

There are also plans for summer music and film events.

In the autumn the garden will be dismantled and the trees given to local estates and community gardens as a lasting legacy of the 2010 London Festival of Architecture.

"We definitely need your plants," says Heather. "These plants are coming together not only for the plant exchange but they are helping to build the garden.

"The concept behind the garden is that it carries with it the stories of everybody who contributes to it.

"Another thing we really need is your seeds for the seed library – and your jars. The entire seed library is being created out of glass jars with lids, so that would be of great help.

• Find out more about the orchard and how you can get involved at www.unionstreetorchard.org.uk

• If you have plants, seeds or jars, drop them off at the orchard at 100 Union Street at any time or contact [email protected]


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