Orchard Farmhouse is a Georgian farmhouse that still has a small holding and a large garden. When Rupert Emerson and Sarah Cousins moved in, they had a vision for sustainable, organic living.
Thanks to the Blackmore Vale Magazine, volunteers came forward with ideas and offers of help. Members of Transition Town Sturminster Newton have played a major part. Wren Franklin surveyed the hedges and wild plants, provided advice and help on tree planting and is experimenting with wildflower meadow cultivation in one of the fields. Matt and Sue Mercy have helped plant the woodland and donated a walnut tree. Matt has also built and donated a Warre hive so that natural beekeeping could begin. Vince Adams has given tree seedlings. Luzia Barclay has explored the edible wild plants for a TTSN event.
The land was put into organic conversion with the Soil Association and after several months of hard work certification as a 100% organic bed and breakfast was accomplished. Success also led to achieving the Gold Award under the Food for Life partnership system. Sarah is now becoming well known locally for her home made cakes while Rupert tries to compete with his orange, lemon and lime marmalade.
Today there is a new orchard of apples, cherries and plums. A native woodland copse has been planted and a transition area of wild fruit trees is forming the next step, a forest garden. To be created on the permaculture concept with seven layers of trees, shrubs and herbs that are edible and useful. A hedge barrier is being planted using 105 plants kindly donated by The Woodland Trust.