The Lucinda Place Community Orchard reflects the burgeoning interest worldwide in community gardening, providing an opportunity for locals to enjoy both the fruits of their labour and build new connections at the same time. The orchard, one of Auckland’s only community fruit orchards, is located between number six and eight Lucinda Place, Glen Eden on just over a third of a hectare of land nestled beside the banks of the Waikumete Stream.
Derek Craig, Restoration Ecologist, ran a Basic Orchard Management Workshop for Project Twin Streams Glen Eden on 25 March 2012. Download a summary of the key tips and pointers from the workshop here.
In 2005 the two properties that were on the site of the orchard were purchased by Project Twin Streams and the houses were removed as part of the restoration of the Waikumete Stream to restablish the natural flood plain.
Under normal practice, Project Twin Streams would plant such areas with native trees. However, these properties were identified as possible recreational areas. There were also existing fruit trees on site. This gave rise to the idea of creating a community orchard where the area is left open but planted with fruit trees. The Lucinda Place Community Orchard was born as a partnership between community, Auckland Council and Project Twin Streams Glen Eden.
So far the orchard has had two plantings of fruit trees, one in 2009 and another in 2010. Tree varieties include plum, apple, peach, feijoa, macadamia, mandarin, lemon, persimmon and a few old trees that existed when the site was residential, including plum, grapefruit and feijoa trees. Most of the newly planted trees have been under-planted with the appropriate companion plants and flowers.
The whole orchard area is looked after without the use of chemical sprays or fertilisers. The grass areas are cut using scythes which provide a quiet, rhythmic, eco friendly and meditative tool to keep the orchard meadow cut. The grass is very useful for around the trees or to use in composting.
Lucinda Place Mural
The orchard is graced with a fantastic mural that drew on the artistic talents of around 100 children from across five West Auckland Primary Schools. The students worked together to create a 12 metre art work that celebrates the success of the orchard and the sense of community it fosters. Commitment to maintaining the local environment is another key theme in the children’s work. The fruit trees provided inspiration for the vibrant mural which spells out letters in the shape of fruit, vegetables, plants and animals. The children also wanted massive birds, insects and water creatures on the mural making the point that these creatures live in our natural environment and are thus important.
While the orchard is situated on Project Twin Streams land, opportunities for growing fruit for the benefit of the general community, sustainable land use practices, connecting people to the stream and fostering community spirit by encouraging local residents to become involved in planning, preparation, planting, cultivation and harvesting of local fruit are the reasons the orchard exists.
At present the local stream rangers and enthusiastic community volunteers are working periodically scything and weeding in the orchard as well as maintaining the riparian zone beside the stream. Occasionally there is a working bee with local folks. You can find out when the next one is being held and meet other community members on our Oooby site (Out of Our Own Back Yards), the Project Twin Streams Facebook Page or contact Stream Ranger Sam McElwee to get added to our mailing list. There is a lot to do in this beautiful wee enclave so we are looking for excited and committed people to become involved in the evolution in the orchard. The planting has begun but the potential for expanding and learning is huge. You do not need to be an expert to become involved just bring your enthusiasm. Everything can be researched, learned, found or funded once a group of committed folks is involved.
If you’re interested in joining the Lucinda Place group, please contact Project Twin Streams Glen Eden: