Artist David Thorpe was invited to contribute to the physical fabric of Hengrove in order to create a long-term legacy for the project.
His community orchard was planted on Whitchurch Village Green, Hengrove in November 2015. It is made up of fruit and nut trees and takes the shape of a cathedral, complete with nave, transept and apse. Planted by local children and residents of Hengrove, the orchard is designed to be a communal meeting place and stems from Thorpe's interest in utopian English traditions, with particular reference to the work of William Morris.
The commission was launched by George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, and Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs and is part of Bristol City Council's One Tree One Child project. It will take 8-10 years to grow to full maturity.
The project will provide:
Members of Elmtree Residents Association, Tree Bristol, Horticulture Department, Skills Academy, Tree Pips, Parks Department Bristol City Council.
Orchard Engagement Programme for 2017:
As part of the longer term development of The Orchard, Bristol City Council commissioned the Whitchurch and Hengrove Community Orchard Engagement Programme, produced by Jane Porter. This programme was designed to raise awareness of The Orchard within the Hengrove community and also to engage the wider Bristol public through exciting projects that took place on site as well as at arts venues across the city.
The programme ran until July 2017, and consisted of four commissions, alongside events, trips, talks and workshops, that saw artists and writers develop lively projects in direct response to The Orchard, with a key aim of engaging Hengrove residents and the wider public with the community orchard and its associated themes.
Jane Porter is a Bristol based independent producer and horticulturist who has worked in leading arts venues in the city for the last 10 years including Picture This, Watershed and Arnolfini. She previously programmed the project space Central-Reservation in 2010 and managed public art commissions with Ginkgo Projects and Arts Council Wales. She gives regular exhibition tours at Arnolfini and Spike Island.