MUSSELBURGH residents are being offered free apple trees as part of an initiative organised by Portobello’s Art Walk Projects.

Edinburgh-based artist and performer Annie Lord has been commissioned to create ‘The Neighbouring Orchard’, which will build a community of locally grown apple trees.

The new participatory art event for summer 2020, funded by Creative Scotland and the National Lottery Awards for All Fund, is one of two inspired by living in the time of Covid-19.

Households in Musselburgh, Portobello and Craigmillar can apply for a young apple tree to be planted in their personal or communal gardens.

A spokesperson for the event said: “At a time when we are physically distant from each other, we look to planting trees as a way to forge links with people in neighbouring streets and suburbs.

“This individually planted, socially distant orchard will be rooted in community and, as the trees grow, bud, blossom and fruit, we will look forward to a time when we can gather together to enjoy the harvests.

“The apple varieties available will all have a historic link to the area, having previously been grown in local orchards in the 19th century.

“As most apple trees need to have different varieties of apple trees nearby in order to be pollinated, the trees of The Neighbouring Orchard will form a network across individual gardens linked together by bees and other pollinators that will fly between them.”

People interested in receiving an apple tree should visit or email to register interest.

The trees will be delivered in winter as bare root trees, ready to be planted out in a sunny spot in February, 2021.

For those with paved gardens, a small number of trees suitable for planting in large containers will be available.

In the other event organised by Art Walk Projects, Portobello-based artist Deirdre Macleod has been awarded a LandMark residency to create her new work, Flow Lines, which will explore how people engage with their public spaces in the time of lockdown.

Rosy Naylor, producer and founder of Art Walk Projects, said: “We are delighted to bring together these two new projects, which connect to so much of the current mood relating to our sense of neighbourhood and collaboration,.

“It is exciting to be able to announce these projects and to still be able to deliver what we hope to be innovative, contemporary work, at such an uncertain time for artists and art organisations.”

Although Art Walk Porty – the annual two-week festival of contemporary public art in Portobello – will not happen in its traditional form in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Art Walk Projects is looking to produce a series of outdoor art installations for Portobello beach and promenade during September and October, working with its residency artists.