Many Dorking residents fondly remember the ancient Mulberry Tree, which used to grace the old Waitrose car park off Junction Road in Dorking, and which gave its name to The Mulberry Centre. Prior to the enlargement of the carpark, when it was not surrounded by tarmac, it apparently thrived – providing plenty of mulberries for the local children to eat and throw at each other (they are satisfyingly squishy). By 2013 however it was looking rather old and tired, having been starved of water and generally mistreated for years.
Re-locating the Mulberry Tree
When Waitrose re-developed the site, Dorking Community Orchard approached them to see if anything could be done to preserve this lovely old tree – and in May 2013 the tree was carefully dug up and delivered to the Ranmore site. We then cut it back to a more manageable size, and moved it into a central position in the Orchard, planting it in a large hole.
Nobody really expected the tree to survive this rough treatment, but it has surprised us all and has been putting on new growth for the past few years, and even puts out a handful of fruit every year! It has become a bit of a celebrity in the orchard, and is the focal point of our open area.
The Muberry Ring
Local artist Simon Barclay recovered some of the wood from the Mulberry Tree when it was moved, and has been using it to produce jewellery – mulberry wood being noted for its dense grain and beautiful texture.
The ring below is made by Simon and he has generously given it to the Orchard. It is beautiful and it made its public debut at the orchard’s first Wassail in January 2014.
Simon can be reached via Twitter at @BarclayBarbot.