11 Jun 2018

Urban food forest: Dunedin's George Street Orchard

From Nine To Noon, 11:34 am on 11 June 2018

Rory Harding wants cities to be covered in edible landscapes and his George Street Orchard at the heart of  Dunedin's central-city fits firmly into his belief  that bountiful plants can have a prominent place in urban landscape design.

Ten years ago George Street Orchard was just your average back-yard with a typical residential garden complete with decorative shrubs and a lawn - now it's covered in fruit trees, berries, self-seeding greens and even crops normally associated with warmer climates such as kiwifruit, figs and feijoas.

The garden is 300 square metres garden and is now dominated by fruit trees with self-seeded veges and herbs underneath.

Rory has gradually got rid of hard borders around the vegetable plots, and evolved the garden into an in the ground style.

The garden has the benefit of good, deep, clay loam, he says.

And he spent some time working out sun angles on to the garden that is shaded a different times of the year in different ways by the surrounding buildings.

“A lot of things got shuffled” he says as he worked out where the prime sunny real estate was.  

And now, by making best use of various micro-climates in the garden, he can grow things that seldom flourish down south. The garden yielded 200 kilos of feijoa this year.

He carefully manages the canopy of the fruit trees to maximise light.

“I contrive it in this system of being a very young forest or emerging woodland.”

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