The garden was only ever used by toads!

Carols Fernandes volunteering at the Stacey Centre community orchard

Carols Fernandes volunteering at the Stacey Centre community orchard

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Our columnist Tracey Jones, from Portsmouth City Council, is a community gardener at the Stacey Centre in Walsall Road, Baffins

The Stacey Community Orchard is part of the Stacey Centre, a community centre in the Baffins/Copnor area.

For many years, the garden area was very overgrown with no paths and not used at all except by toads.

In 2009, Portsmouth City Council was looking for suitable food growing sites to use as part of its Healthy Pompey project.

The aim was to promote a healthier way of living, which included growing your own organic food.

Places needed to be found within the city where fruit and vegetables could be grown, and the Stacey Centre garden was chosen as a suitable site for a community orchard.

It would be a place where people could come and get advice about how to grow their own organic fruit and vegetables, volunteer to help maintain the orchard, and a place for people to enjoy and relax in.

Since 2009 there have been many committed volunteers who have worked really hard to turn this area into a beautiful and productive organic orchard and to maintain it.

All the trees were planted by the volunteers, and Stacey centre groups and are named on the wooden plaques next to the trees.

Local children planted all the herbs.

Since the orchard was completed we have had thousands of visitors and we continue to have many visitors, including school groups, and we have community events such as Easter fun day, Halloween day, Bee Friendly fun day.

The orchard is filled with apples, pears, cherries, figs and plum trees, fruit bushes such as whitecurrant, blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberries, lots of herbs and wildflowers.

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