Last week we were out picking apples again, although this time with the Friends of the Orchard group at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
The Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Morningside has an orchard within its grounds that was planted out after the second world war. Originally patients at the hospital worked in the orchard for therapeutic purposes or a small income, and the apples went to the hospital kitchens. However, with time ideas about healthcare changed and later management deemed the work exploitative, despite many patients reportedly enjoying the work. With no-one working the orchard it came to be neglected, and interest in the trees has only recently been revived thanks to the Artlink project, who saw potential in the site for therapeutic work.
Artlink are still trying to revive interest in the orchard, and bring in members of the local community to help maintain it. On Wednesday we came along to the open day and picked some apples for distribution at local apple days. The orchard is really magical, with scores of mature apple trees thriving amongst a carpet of nettles. With the trees being so old many of the apples were quite high up, but with the help of our picking pole we came away with lots of Aldermans, Newton Wonders, and a handful of sweet tasting crab apples.
If you’re interested in helping out with the orchard, or have ideas for how it could be used, please do get in touch using our email at the bottom of the page.