City pocket orchard: ripe for the picking

At Play Sustainable City Our Wellbeing At Work


Posted on 23 May 2019

You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t love eating fruit picked straight from the tree. There’s just something so natural and satisfying about it. A wonderful, wholesome activity, fruit-picking is especially fun to share with children. You'll often find them beaming with delight as they tuck into their loot.

These days, the humble fruit tree is becoming harder to find in household gardens. Which means less opportunity to hand-pick fruit. The good news is, the City of Adelaide is helping to preserve the practice, by creating a free community pocket orchard right here in the city.

"We'll see some fruit ripe for picking throughout winter and beyond."
Jessica, City of Adelaide Horticulture Team

Still relatively young, the orchard will one day be filled with a delicious abundance of fruit. With citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, grapefruits and tangelos, as well as quince and persimmon. There is even a macadamia tree.

Jessica in the orchard

Jessica tending to one of the blossoming citrus trees.

A small horticulture team is responsible for the maintenance of the parks and gardens around North Adelaide. This includes Brougham Gardens, Bush Magic Playground, Eighty Eight O’Connell and the pocket orchard located at Bundey’s Paddock / Tidlangga (Park 9). Bundey's Paddock is a picturesque park across the road from the Adelaide Archery Club and next door to the *Olive Groves (Park 8 and 9). To get the low-down on this hidden garden gem, we spoke with Jessica, leading hand for the City of Adelaide’s horticulture team.

If you’d like to get your hands on some of the yummy fruit on offer, Jessica recommends visiting the orchard from June through to August.

“Although our pocket orchard is still in its early days, we’ve already seen the beginnings of fruit harvest. There's a good variety of citrus trees that fruit at different times. So, we'll see some fruit ripe for picking throughout winter and beyond.”

Persimmons ripen from April through to June, whilst quince and macadamias are ready to pick around March or April through to August.

“Our macadamia is a bit young though, so we won’t see any seeds on that for a few years yet,” advises Jessica.

Pocket Orchard 6a 1

PEEK-A-BOO - A LEMON FROM THE ORCHARD ALMOST READY FOR HARVEST.

Tasks performed by the team include; maintaining the irrigation, mulching, fertilising, weed removal, pruning, disease and pest control.

“Our fruit trees are still developing, so at this stage we tend to them once a fortnight,” says Jessica. “We also have a fantastic group of residents, known as ‘Community Custodians’. They're a bunch of volunteers who assist us with the care of the fruit trees.”

Beyond fruit-picking, Bundey’s Paddock is a wonderful place to spend time. It features beautifully manicured gardens and great recreation areas including free barbecues, picnic tables, tennis courts and a fabulous playground.

Jessica's top 5 gardening tips

If you’re inspired to start growing your own or already have fruit trees at home, here are Jessica’s top five tips for growing tasty home-grown fruit.

  1. Make sure you water your fruit trees consistently through the hot, dry months.
  2. Use Eco-oil for Citrus Leaf Miner, it’s a great treatment and the best time to spray is in spring.
  3. Ensure you’re providing your fruit tree with the right fertiliser. Citrus trees love organic, composted chicken manure. A liquid seaweed can also help boost activity in the soil.
  4. Regularly prune your fruit trees, this will help to keep your trees compact and will make it much easier when it comes time to harvest your fruit.
  5. Develop an annual maintenance plan for yourself. This will help keep you on track for performing relevant tasks at the right time of the year

*Please note that a permit is required to harvest olives in the city. This helps to ensure fruit pickers are harvesting for normal domestic use only and not for commercial purposes.

Article by

Melanie Stewart

Melanie Stewart

Having lived interstate, Melanie is an avid promoter of her beloved hometown, Adelaide. With a passion for community and sustainability, she loves sharing stories of everyday people, doing extraordinary things.


Join the conversation