Apple Tree Orchestra at the Heathrow Haystack

First Blossom of 2015
First Blossom of 2015

Haystacks is a series of events organised by artist Kathrin Böhm. Exploring our relationships with the rural and the urban. In the next of these events Kate Corder will be conducting a tour of orchards near Heathrow airport and has kindly invited the apple tree orchestra to be a part of this event.


Heathrow Apple Blossom Walk
with Kate Corder
Sunday 27 April, 2-5pm

The next Haystack takes the form of a tour to various orchards and apple related sites around London’s Heathrow area.

Kate Corder is interested in the Thames Valley Corridor as a former apple tree orchard cultivation area, which included Heathrow prior to the building of the airport. It is still undecided if or when a Third Runway will be built at Heathrow. Kate will direct a walk searching for apple tree blossom along one of the potential runway sites in the public domain. The walk will meet at Transition Heathrow, a squat in an old market garden at the village of Sipson, then walk to Harmondsworth to visit the grave of Richard Cox, who grew the first Cox’s Orange Pippen apple. The walk will continue to the Sheraton Hotel at Heathrow, where the managers planted an orchard, and the Haystack ends with drinks at the Discovery Bar.

Kate Corder is bringing a bag full of apple stories and histories to have along our tour – hopefully just in time for apple blossom.

Our first meeting point is at West Drayton train station (TFL zone 6) at 1.30pm (trains from Paddington take 20 minutes), there we will get the 222 bus (towards Hounslow) to Sipson. If you are coming on the Underground meet us at Grow Heathrow in Sipson Village at 2pm. (Take the Piccadilly Line to Hounslow West and then take Bus 222 toward Uxbridge and get off at Sipson Close). Grow Heathrow is a minute walk away from the bus stop, turn right onto Sipson Lane and left onto Vineries Close, where you will find the entrance.

Grow Heathrow is the market garden set up by Transition Heathrow. Here Kate is going to introduce the site and apple history followed by an I Phone screening of artist Tom Ingate’s “Apple Tree Ochestra” performance.

From there we’ll be walking to Harmondsworth (1.1miles), passing the former Greenpeace Airplot. Artist Jo Thomas will be remembering the apples trees planted and twinned in support of Greenpeace Airplot.

In Harmondsworth we will go to St Mary’s church and visit Richard Cox’s grave in the churchyard. Here, Kate will read a short essay on Richard Cox and apples.

We will then walk to the Sheraton Hotel Heathrow for a drink at the Discovery Bar, and visit the orchard planted by managers two years ago in the hotel garden.
From there we take a bus back (U3 and 350) back to West Drayton or Heathrow tube.

Addresses along the way:

Transition Heathrow, Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JH
Richard Cox’s grave, St Marys, High Street, Harmondsworth, UB7 OAQ
Sheraton Hotel Heathrow, Colnbrook By-Pass, Harmondsworth, West Drayton UB7 0HJ

Kate Corder is an artist, researcher, curator of Cultivation Field and her recent PhD explores allotments, plant material and land cultivation.

Haystacks are a series of informal meetings to talk about rural links and rural realities, organised by Kathrin Böhm /

Mini Polytunnel and Strawberries

These strawberries are becoming quite a challenge. Not only do I need enough fruit for at least 50 people, it needs to ripen and ready for picking 2 July. My usual approach of stick it in the ground and see if it grows isn’t going to cut the mustard this time. I’ve built a mini poly tunnel for half of the Marshmallow plants to bring them on early, the other half are outside in pots and my existing plants are now in a bed.

Hopefully with this mixture I have some chance of some plants fruiting at the right time.


Blue water pipe, bamboo and 2"x2" frame for the mini polytunnel.
Blue water pipe, bamboo and 2″x2″ frame for the mini polytunnel.


Complete frame of hazel triangle supports and bamboo lengths
Complete frame of hazel triangle supports and bamboo lengths all held together with white duck tape


Taped together the 2m wide sections of plastic to make a 4m x 6m sheet. Covered the frame and tucked the ends around the door frames with battons and dug in the edges into the trench.
Cut the 2m x 12 m roll of plastic sheet in half and joined with 3″ plastic bonding tape to make a 4m x 6m sheet. Covered the frame and tucked the ends around the door frames with battens and dug the edges into the trench to make it tight.


Complete with strawberries.
Complete with strawberries.


The remaining Marshmallow hardening off in pots with the other plants.
The remaining Marshmallow hardening off in pots amongst the other plants in the new strawberry bed.

Soil Culture Forum & Strawberries

As part of the Soil Culture Forum we’ve planned a cream tea with strawberries and cream, all very nice on the lawn in the summer sun. I suggested I could grow said strawberries that the delegates could pick themselves without really thinking about the consequences. A lovely idea in the deepest darkest depths of winter but now I have to get cracking, these plants NEED to fruit in 3 months.

Strawberry - Marshmellow from Trevena Cross Nurseries
Strawberry – Marshmellow from Trevena Cross Nurseries

I’ve spoken to many strawberry producers in Cornwall and I’ve gone for ‘Marshmallow’ a variety known for its flavour (if it’s a small crop at least it will be tasty). I collected my 50 strawberry plants yesterday and when the rain stops I’m repotting with a homemade compost and soil mix, building a small poly tunnel, and preparing a liquid fertiliser with 2yr old chicken poo from my hens. Challenging but fun.

For more Soil Culture Forum info or if you would like to get involved


Soil Culture: Blog



Soil Pigments © Peter Ward 2009
Soil Pigments © Peter Ward 2009