A small community orchard has been planted by the Village Association as part of the 'Groomsport in Bloom' initiative. Three of the five trees planted are native Irish varieties that would once have been common throughout the island. Of the three, Irish Peach and Ross NonPariel are desert apples whilst the third variety - Ecklinville is a cooker. It is believed to have been first grown near Portaferry some time before 1800. Two 'John Dowie' crab apples have also been planted to assist pollination and to provide flowering interest. More details are here. The site is on HE land on 'The Hill'.
Chair of the 'Groomsport in Bloom' sub-committee, Roy McWhinney, said that, "We are delighted that in 2015 and again in 2016, Groomsport was awarded 2nd prize in the highly competitive 'Ulster in Bloom' competition. Planting the community orchard is one of the developments we hope will enable Groomsport to retain, or improve, its place in the competition".
Gary Hilliard ( NI Housing Executive), Alan Crawford (Groomsport Garden Nurseries) and Tim Stapleton (Hedged About) were involved in sourcing and planting the trees and gaining planting permission. Alan Crawford said that "There is an increasing interest in growing native varieties of apples".
As always, Groomsport Village Association are encouraging everyone to continue to improve the village, in as many different ways as possible.