History Trail

17 - 23    The Orchard Area

The orchard in the north-west corner of the property has been established for many years. The trees in the orchard are mostly fig trees, (Ficus carica), - [21 on the map], and plum, (Prunus domestica), - [22 on the map]. There is also one large loquat tree, (Eriobotrya japonica), - [23 on the map]. These trees in the orchard are very attractive to the native pigeon or kereru, (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae), which eats the fruit. [Kereru are also known as kukupa and kuku in Northland.]

Separated from the rest of the orchard, by the well head and the pump house, are some fruit trees and a vegetable garden. There was once a further vegetable plot on the flat area on the other side of the stream. In this part of the garden are; a mandarin tree, (Citrus reticulata), - [20 on the map]; two nectarine trees, (Prunus persica cv) - [17 on the map]; and a peach tree, (Prunus persica cv), - [18 on the map]. Nectarines are not a different species to peaches, as is often thought. Even though they are marketed as different fruits, they are really just different cultivars of the same species.

Parts of the orchard pre-date Williams House, with some trees being recorded as mature and bearing fruit in 1885. The caretaker of Williams House up until 1960, Charles Yorke, lost an eye as a boy of 11 years of age, while playing in the fig trees. The property at that time occupied by his family.

Fruit grown in the orchard is used by Friends of Williams House to produce conserves and chutneys; these, along with produce from the vegetable garden, are sold, (when available) on the second-hand book garage sales days to raise funds for ongoing projects. All produce is provided from the labours of volunteers and Friends of the Williams House, Paihia Library.

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