About Notes From the Orchard

Hello and welcome to Notes From the Orchard. I’m Darren Turpin, a keen orchardist, amateur pomologist, professional gardener, allotmenteer and GYO enthusiast.

In 2016 I qualified for the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture. I’m now part qualified at Level 3 – Principles of Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation, which I’m studying via the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh distance learning programme.

In April 2017 I took a part-time job as Assistant Gardener at Ordsall Hall and Gardens, working under Head Gardener Lindsay Berry, until her move to be Head Gardener at Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, in May 2018. I then stepped up to acting Head Gardener, looking after the gardens with our team of dedicated and hard-working volunteers for a few months, before our new Head Gardener, Jo Green, joined us in December 2018.

My main focus at Ordsall Hall and Gardens is on the edibles (formerly the WWI allotment) section and the orchard, although I work across the site on whatever needs to be done. I’m a weekly volunteer at the RHS Garden Bridgewater, where I’m helping the outer walled garden team to get their section of the site – which will include a heritage orchard of North West UK apple, pear and plum trees – ready for opening in the spring of 2021. I’ve also helped out at Holly Mount Community Orchard, running pruning sessions for their regular volunteers.

Helping out at a pruning session at Holly Mount community orchard, January 2021

My wife, Jo, and I have been growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers on Plot #59 of Langley Allotments in Prestwich, North Manchester since 2014. We grow stepover and cordon apples on our main plot, and in 2017 we took on a second plot, Plot #79, which along with two other plot holders, we’ve turned into a 20-tree orchard that includes culinary and dessert apples, pears and plums, plus a quince, medlar and damson.

If you have any comments, questions or queries, please do feel free to leave a reply on any relevant blog post, or you can drop me a line or Tweet @nftorchard and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

And if you’re based in the North Manchester area and are looking for a someone to offer help of practical advice on planting, pruning and caring for fruit trees, please do drop me a line. I’m always interested in hearing about any orchard-related opportunities.

Notes From the Orchard by Darren Turpin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.