Although all is fairly quiet on the human side of campus, the gardens team still have plenty to do to keep the campus maintained and looking fantastic and full of life and colour including caring for Fruit Routes.
If you can get on campus this is a great time to explore Fruit Routes especially because over the next few months you will find delicious treats in store on your way round. Use the Fruit Routes map to find out which varieties are planted where and when to pick them. Please do pick the fruit! Its planted for all of us to share and enjoy with the wildlife.
Fruit Routes has been listed as part of LU Arts sculpture trail and collection:
Fruit Routes is a work of eco-social sculpture by the artist Anne-Marie Culhane, managed by the University’s Sustainability team and maintained by the Garden’s team. Combining art, the everyday and ecological landscaping, it consists of an edible route of hundreds of fruit and nut trees and bushes, including six discrete clusters of trees. Fruits grown include cooking, eating and cider apples; pears; cherries; apricots; greengage; plums; almonds; walnuts; sweet chestnuts; mulberries and quince. Contributing to the campus environment, improving conditions for wildlife and enabling the foraging of free food, the work is intended to spark conversations about the politics, economics and ecologies of food production, distribution and consumption. Two events are organised annually to mark the season, including a ‘harvest festival’ with a mixture of performances, walks, talks, workshops, harvesting and fruit pressing.
Various maps will help you navigate and enjoy the other sculptures across the campus. https://www.lboro.ac.uk/arts/arts-collection/sculpture-trail/
I also got the chance to speak about Fruit Routes as part of Culture Declares Emergency ‘Re-imagining the City’ webinar in April – you can watch it here
And here is an update on the route from Rachel Senior, assistant gardens manager, who, along with her team, has been involved in caring for Fruit Routes for many years:
There are no apricots at all this year. Not sure why that is. We haven’t got any peaches either on our tree in the walled garden – we had over 20 last year. Maybe it’s not a year for the furry fruit! We had a lot of blossom but it hasn’t produced anything. The gages and plums in Burleigh Court orchard are doing really well as is all the hard fruit in the Barefoot Orchard. Cherries are being enjoyed by the birds as usual. One apple tree has died in the Barefoot Orchard.
Campus is quiet. Not many people about but plenty of work for our team to be doing as it’s perfect growing season. Wildlife is abundant and more brave than usual. We are mostly seeing the same species but muntjacs are roaming deeper into the heart of the campus and are wandering around the student flats in the village. Badgers are digging areas they have previously left alone. And squirrels stop in the road and look at our vehicles as if they have no right to be there!
Thanks Rachel, and we hope to see you all in the Autumn.