The (PPC) unveiled its latest attraction on Tuesday: a demonstration orchard.
The small farm, which is near the Park Drive Bridge and Piedmont Dog Park, was the product of a $12,000 grant from the Northwood Garden Club and around $8,000 in volunteer labor, according to PPC Executive Vice President, Chris Nelson.
The Northwood Garden Club was founded in 1937 in order to pursue, “the study and culture of flowers, together with the study of landscape gardening and the care and arrangement of flowers.” In the last 75 years, the club has sponsored many civic beautification projects throughout Atlanta
The PPC had been working on the orchard since February and among the fruits being grown are peaches, plums, grapes, apples and berries.
The garden will contain many different plants growing close to one another because of the espalier trellises in each plant's box which force them to grow upward and spread out across a flat plane, rather than taking their normal shape, according to Conservancy Program Coordinator Holly Hollingsworth.
As its name suggests, the purpose of the orchard is to promote the Conservancy's educational programming. At Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting event, Nelson addressed PPC members, volunteers and members of the Northwood Garden Club. "We have a real commitment to children's education in Piedmont Park," he said.
Nelson explained that the orchard will be a tool for children to learn about urban gardening as well as sustainable gardening practices. Nelson said the park expects around 100 kids to visit the orchard per week.
Though it is not certified organic, Hollingsworth said that the orchard was constructed sustainably. The plant boxes were made with sustainable cedar wood. Since the area around the orchard is not irrigated, Nelson said that the Conservancy will water the plants with local lake water, not city water.
At the end of his remarks, Nelson emphasized the value of the orchard as a teaching tool for local children. "We want to share ideas that they can bring home," he said.