Winter Gardening

It’s been a cold few weeks with snow, frost, wind and rain battering our gardens. However, hellebores (winter roses) are flowering, and the early spring bulbs are showing their resilience and starting to peek out of the ground. The Fairfield Scouts’ bulb planting efforts in the Community Hall borders (reported in December’s Fairfield Matters) have been worthwhile with the green shoots of the daffodils starting to show.

The wet weather did not deter a brave group of volunteers from helping with the apple tree pruning in the West Orchard over the weekend of the 14th/15th January. Gavin and Penny Daffarn arranged the annual activity, organising and instructing the group on how to prune and which trees needed attention. An experienced arborist and apple tree specialist inspects the orchards each October and provides a detailed maintenance report that the team work to for the pruning.

The trees are very old but are bearing up due to the care and attention of volunteers. Thank you to all those who gave their time to help this year’s efforts. This month you may come across a more experienced professional pruning the larger trees in the East Orchard, using ladders and other equipment to do work not suitable for volunteers to undertake.

As you walk through the Hardy Way side of the West Orchard, notice that many of the cobnut trees have been coppiced, with their very long, out of control shoots being cut down. This has opened up a wider area behind the trees by the Hall wall, albeit with a lot of shrub and dead wood there. Cobnuts are of course good to eat, but the squirrels almost always beat us to them as they are happy to eat the unripe nuts!

We have our first ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ team meeting next week and will be planning our Fairfield in Bloom projects for 2023. We hope that we can provide interesting gardening activities for our Fairfield community, improve our green spaces and increase biodiversity. I will share our plans in future updates.

If you would like to get involved please contact me at

Sara Chick, It’s Your Neighbourhood Coordinator