Steyning Community Orchard: New for 2020 - Apple Paintings.

About 18 months ago at the Apple Day at Parham, we were approached by local botanical artist, Sue Merrikin, who wondered if there was anything she could do to help the Community Orchard, by possibly donating a painting we could use for printing into cards.

We took her up on this offer, and invited her to a meeting of the Steering Group, where she showed us examples of her wonderfully detailed watercolour paintings of many varieties of fruit and vegetables.

Sue has exhibited with the Royal Horticultural Society over the years, where she has gained a ‘Silver Gilt’ medal. We decided to commission her to paint the blossom and fruit of all the heritage apple tree varieties that have been planted in the Memorial Playing Field.

There are twelve heritage Sussex apple trees in the MPF with 2 more being planted in March. Some are very rare and poorly recorded, so this project will help us have a permanent record of the blossom and fruit.

This will be a long term project as each painting is done in two ‘halves’, as the blossom and fruit are only available at different times of the year.

Sue paints from life, not photographs, so needs good examples to accurately depict the colours and textures of her chosen specimen, taking about a week to paint each ‘half’ As the blossom doesn’t stay in good condition for too long, we decided to complete only 2/3 varieties per year. In the autumn the chosen fruit also needed protection as it developed, so if anyone walking through the orchard noticed the orange netting in the trees, that’s what it was doing!

In 2019, Sue was able to complete paintings of Dr Hogg and Knobby Russet. She has kindly donated the first painting to us and has given us the copyright, so we will now be able to use the images to print cards, prints, tea towels etc that we can sell at our events throughout the year. We are also hoping to offer the original paintings for sale as these will be mounted and ready to frame.

We would like to say a huge ‘Thank you’ to Sue for undertaking this project – we look forward to seeing (hopefully) some more completed paintings this year.

The Steyning Community Orchard is fortunate to have many volunteers and supporters like Sue that help make a success of the Orchard.

We have more dates for tree planting coming up: 7th March in the main Community Orchard on the Memorial Playing Field and 14th March in the Downland Orchard on the Steyning Downland Scheme.

We also have work parties on the second Saturday of the month. If you would like to get involved, even in a small way, please see our website where you can become a Friend of the Orchard and get email updates of our news and events, or email us at

Do keep in touch. Look at our website and become a Friend of the SCO.
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