Sydenham small-holder praises ‘wonderful’ #ThameTrees

Sydenham small-holder praises ‘wonderful’ #ThameTrees

By Greer Glover

A Sydenham small-holder, who has planted an orchard and small spinney through a donation from #ThameTrees, has spoken of the ‘wonderful’ project that has helped create her very own ‘mini eco-system’.

Nickie Bailey, who keeps poultry, sheep and horses, said the trees were ‘flourishing’. “I very much thank all of the people who organised and helped plant the trees. It’s an amazing project, especially considering the situation we’re in with the planet.”

Ms Bailey, who bought her plot 12 years ago and who sells hatching eggs and poultry, received apple trees for her orchard and 80 traditional English tree whips to establish the spinney. Varieties include willow, English oak, wild cherry, silver birch and field maple.

She said she would not have been able to afford to buy the trees on her own and so she was ‘very, very grateful’ for the donation. “The trees have done really well. I’ve my own mini-eco-system,” she said.

An #ThameTrees workforce team helped Ms Bailey dig holes and plant the trees, completing the work in a day.

#Thame Trees is a project sponsored by local firms, in particular Lucy Electric and overseen by community support organisation 21st Century Thame.  A tree grant from The Woodland Trust also helped buy the trees.

Ms Bailey, who is also a volunteer for Thame Museum, said she attended a volunteer fair in Thame two years ago, and it was there that she learned about the project. “I went along as a volunteer to help get volunteers and ended up with a lot of trees,” she said. The trees and whips were planted earlier this year.

Future plans for Ms Bailey include planting hedging along one side of her field – as well as juicing apples from the orchard when the trees eventually bear fruit.

Sue Martin-Downhill, chair of 21st Century Thame and #ThameTrees project lead, said, “Nickie was a perfect recipient for a pack of trees because one of her goals for the field behind her house is to allow wildlife to thrive alongside her small flock of sheep. 

“Nickie cares well for the trees and we’re really looking forward to seeing the spinney grow, taste the juiced apples and to plant the new hedgerow next spring.  We also really enjoyed the cakes and biscuits baked specially by Nickie’s daughter for the planting party.”