Apricot Centre

LAND Region: 
EnglandEast of England
LAND Project Type: 
LAND Centre

The Apricot Centre is set in a 4 acre organic and permaculture designed garden growing fruit, flowers and salad for sale and food and fuel for the centre and home. It runs courses on the farm and outreach work into schools

The Apricot centre is a small training centre set in a 1.5 ha (4 acre) organic garden designed on permaculture principles. The garden produces fruit, flowers and salad for sale and food and fuel for the centre and home and is incredibly biodiverse. The centre is made out of re-cycled shipping containers – with a sedum roof, insulated and lined in and out, and a ceramic stove to heat the space it is simple and beautiful, and perfectly provides a space for diverse courses on gardening, yoga, creativity, INSET training for teachers, and psychotherapy amongst others. The garden had 500 sq meters of protected cropping to provide food for the home and the centre, and a 1.18 ha orchard growing a huge range of soft and top fruit for sale over 9 months of year. The fruit is sold into the Growing Communities farmers market in London, just 57 miles from the centre. 0.4 ha of the land was planted with woodland in 2000, and is now providing coppiced wood to fuel the centre. The centre also provide outreach work in to local schools, developing outdoor classrooms and creative ways of teaching the curriculum in primary school. To date the centre has worked with over 15 primary schools in some of the most deprived parts of the country with many more exciting projects in the pipeline.

Member Project known date: 
Friday, 13 January, 2012
Number of people text: 
Number of visitors/volunteers can accommodate: 20 max for day visits 6 overnight accommodation. Group visit scheme: yes.
Contact Name: 
Marina O'Connell
Telephone number: 
01206 230425
I initially laid out the garden using the zones and sectors concepts observing the garden over the first year we were here. The garden comprises of the zone 0, re-designed ecohome, and zone 1 is the 500 sq me of glass and vegetable garden, this moves on to the zone 2/3 commercial orchard and soft fruit garden. And then finally Zone 4/5 the 0.4 ha of woodland. The principles themselves also run through the garden, the orchard is planted with 8 varieties of apple, 7 varieties of plum and 1 variety of pear, providing cropping form august until April. The varieties are organised into sections according to the ripening dates, and intermingled to create more of a polyculture. These are inter-dispersed with hazel “arms” which are multifunctional providing windbreaks, fuel when coppiced, nuts, and play space for school visits. Soft fruit is planted in between the top fruit, starting with Rhubarb in May and finishing with late raspberries in October. The orchard sward is made up of clover and grass and wild flowers, it is mown and flocks of ducks are periodically raised to manure and graze the orchard. The glasshouses are stacked with fruit, and salad crops, of huge variety, peaches, apricots and grapes, overhang raspberries strawberries, tomatoes, and cucumbers and this covers perennial spinach and nettle.. It is watered using harvested rainwater. Functional Biodiversity is used throughout to balance pests and diseases of which there is every variety present but none to huge detriment to the crops The Centre itself is made from recycled shipping containers from the local Felixstowe docks and have been made in to a beautiful space for training, Heated in part from fuel from the farm burnt in the ceramic stove.
Project start date: 
May, 1999
83 Hungerdown Lane Lowerford
Manningtree, Essex CO11 2LY
United Kingdom
Essex GB