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Orchard Reviews

Orchard by Benedict Macdonald, Nicholas Gates

Orchard: A Year in England's Eden

Benedict Macdonald, Nicholas Gates

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: William Collins
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 20 Aug 2020
ISBN: 9780008333737

Spend a year in an orchard, celebrating its imperilled, overlooked abundance of life. England's ancient orchards, collaborations between people and nature, are sources of hope for the future.

4 stars out of 5
John Carey
9 Aug 2020

"This celebration of a wild British orchard shows how rich our nature could be again"

What impels them? No one knows. Macdonald does not go so far as to suggest that they plan their journeys intelligently. But he does detect intelligence elsewhere in the animal world. Wild boar, which arrive in the orchard in December, are, he says, “hugely intelligent”. His grounds for believing this are that they eat large quantities of fruit and then excrete the seeds “complete with fertiliser”. So they play a vital role in propagating the next generation of fruit trees. It seems a desperate argument, unless you drastically redefine “intelligence”. As things stand, we seem to be the only intelligent beings, and, as Orchard vividly shows, our evolution has upset a perfectly balanced ecosystem.