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December 13, 2022

Culture at the heart 

Worth catching up on Simon Schama’s History of Now (BBC2).  Reflecting back on a life steeped in culture, he continually asserts the centrality of art as a bulwark to the multiple threats that face humanity, whatever and wherever they are. He covers the big stuff –  those artists with global reach and significance – but the point he makes is as relevant to community life as it is to global affairs. Too often marginalised when times get tough, the artist, he argues, should be front and centre. Projects like the Neighbouring Orchard lift the heart and should be cherished.

Art Walk Porty

About The Neighbouring Orchard

‘The Neighbouring Orchard’ created by artist Annie Lord involves a network of apple trees planted in local front and shared gardens across Portobello, Craigmillar and Musselburgh.

The Neighbouring Orchard project offers young apple trees to households in Portobello, Musselburgh and Craigmillar, providing the possibility of apple harvests in years to come. At a time when we are physically distant from each other we look to planting trees as a way to forge links with people in neighbouring streets and suburbs. This individually planted, socially distant orchard is rooted in community and as the trees grow, bud, blossom and fruit we look forward to a time when we can gather together to enjoy the harvests.

The trees are planted in front gardens or shared gardens, ensuring that they are visible to the wider community, acting as markers for people on daily walks, seen from bus windows and from other household’s windows.

The apple varieties we offer each have a historic link to the area, having previously been grown in local orchards in the 19th Century. Most apple trees need to have different varieties of apple trees nearby in order to be pollinated. The Neighbouring Orchard trees will form a network across individual gardens, linked together by bees and other pollinators who will fly between them.

The project was supported initially by funding from the National Lottery Awards for All Fund. In 2021 further funding from Creative Scotland and Musselburgh Common Good Fund (East Lothian Council) was received to further develop the project.